Charedim and Self-Sacrifice


Q: Why don't Charedim display self-sacrifice like Religious-Zionists?

A: Throughout the generations, Jews have displayed self-sacrifice for the Land of Israel, whether by making Aliyah, establishing settlements, or serving in the army.  This has included Religious-Zionists, secular Jews and the Charedim (Ultra-Orthodox).  Charedim – whether the students of the Vilna Gaon or the students of the Baal Shem Tov - made Aliyah and established settlements with great self-sacrifice.  For example, Charedim established Me'ah She'arim within an Arab settlement with self-sacrifice, the city of Petach Tikvah despite the malaria for which many paid with their lives, and the neighborhood of Nachalat Shiva in Jerusalem, which was an extremely dangerous place.  Even Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld ztz"l, one of the harshest opponents of Zionism, said that we cannot abandon even one place in the Land of Israel – even if there is danger involved.  The story is told in the book "Ha-Ish Al Ha-Chomah" (vol. 2, pp. 175-180) that during the Arab Pogrom of 5689 a multitude of Arabs descended on Me'ah Shearim.  Their leader had his sword drawn and they screamed, "Slaughter the Jews!"  When they passed the flour mill, two Charedi Jews came out.  One wielded a pistol and shot and killed the leader of the gang.  The second threw a hand grenade.  The entire gang fled with the two of them in pursuit – one with a pistol and the other with a hand grenade.  The Arabs killed many of their own trampling one another in their panicked flight.  The next day, Ha-Rav Zonnenfeld, who lived within the walls of the Old City, had to go to Me'ah Shearim for a brit milah.  He left through "Sha'ar Shechem" (the Damascus Gate), and in front of his eyes lay the dead Arabs.  His students said to him: "Rav, what about safeguarding one's life?"  He answered them: "If we surrender walking through 'Sha'ar Shechem,' there will be no Jews."  And by the way, the Charedi Jew who fired the pistol was Ha-Rav Aharon Fischer, the father of Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Yisrael Yaakov Fischer, who was the Av Beit Din of the Ultra-Orthodox community until a few years ago.  We therefore see that the Charedim did not fear anything - not diseases and not Arabs, and they even used a weapon when necessary.