Haredi yeshivas to close after extension of semester as gesture of spiritual war effort

Yeshivas will therefore remain open until the end of this week, but will close afterwards.

August 6, 2014 18:06
2 minute read.

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz stands in the library of his yeshiva in Jerusalem’s Nahlaot neighborhood.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

As an expression of support to the war effort, senior haredi rabbis decided to extend the yeshiva semester by a week.

This decision came after several senior haredi rabbis said last week that yeshiva students should not leave the study halls while the Jewish people were at war.

It is widely believed in the haredi world that the merit of Torah study provides spiritual and even physical protection for the Jewish people. This claim is part of the reason why it is believed yeshiva students should not enlist in the IDF.

Last week, the most senior rabbi in the non-hassidic haredi world, Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, said the summer vacation should be delayed for at least a week in light of the military campaign.

Meanwhile, the Council of Torah Sages of Agudat Yisrael, the umbrella hassidic movement, published a formal announcement canceling summer vacation plans.

With the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas taking effect on Tuesday, it was unclear whether or not the rabbinic leadership would permit students to begin the traditional three-week summer vacation between the fast of Tisha Be’av and the beginning of the Jewish month of Elul.

Following the establishment of a cease-fire, close associates of Shteinman discussed on Tuesday whether or not to keep yeshivot open.

The rabbi ruled it would be a desecration of God’s name to cancel the extra week of studying that he called for. Yeshivot will therefore remain open until the end of this week, but will close afterwards.

Shteinman discouraged students from going on hikes or day trips in the remainder of the vacation, but he has frequently spoken out against such activities in the past.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef issued a different ruling, according to haredi news website B’Hadrei Haredim, saying that yeshiva students could take a break from their formal studies in yeshiva at the usual time, but should not go on hikes or day trips.

Yosef had earlier ruled the summer vacation should be canceled while the military campaign was still ongoing.

Studies in hassidic yeshivot will continue until the end of this week and a decision whether or not to take vacation will be made at the beginning of the next week.

Plans for the traditional summer activities often organized by the different hassidic groups have been canceled for the duration of the vacation.

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