I read with interest Gary Rosenblatt’s column, “On Haredi Service, Half a Great Idea” (July 20), quoting Rabbi Simcha Avraham Halevi of Bnei Brak on the exclusive efficacy of Torah study to ensure the survival of the Jewish people.
There is a beautiful teaching of Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian (1876-1970), the famed spiritual instructor of the Kfar Chasidim Yeshiva, in the name of Rabbi Judah Loew, the Maharal of Prague (1520-1609), on the story of Gideon’s victory over the Midianites in the seventh chapter of the Book of Judges.
God instructed Gideon, before proceeding to battle, to winnow his troops from 32,000 down to 300, and thereby limit his force only to those who had not worshiped the Canaanite deity Baal. The Maharal explains that God desires to bring about victory through an army consisting of those who would recognize divine providence in the success of their efforts (Lev Eliyahu, Volume 1, 96-97). If Rabbi Halevi and his colleagues in Bnei Brak truly believed in the power of Torah scholars to promote victory for the people of Israel, they should be clamoring to enlist.