The Laws of IDF Uniforms (Hebrew)


The Laws of IDF Uniforms 
By Shlomo Aviner
Edited by Mordechai TzionHava Books
Jerusalem, 2017
87 pages
You will not find a section on the laws of army uniforms in the Shulchan Aruch. Classical texts of Jewish law do not discuss proper treatment of army uniforms for a simple reason: while Jews served in the armies of many countries, they did not serve in their own army since the times of Bar Kochba. After nearly 2,000 years, that changed with the establishment of the State of Israel. Does halachah reflect that change?
Rabbi Mordechai Tzion (formerly Friedfertig) translates, edits and publishes the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner. In this short book, Rabbi Tzion arranges Rabbi Aviner’s rulings regarding IDF uniforms according to the order of the Shulchan Aruch. Following the list of rulings are questions posed to Rabbi Aviner and his answers, along with Rabbi Tzion’s expansions and citations of contemporary responsa. Rabbi Aviner is famous for his breadth of knowledge, love of Israel and fearless pursuit of religious ideals. Rabbi Tzion’s remarkable mastery of contemporary halachic literature adds color and context to Rabbi Aviner’s answers and great treasures for researchers.
Issues range from the religious significance of IDF uniforms to proper attire for prayer to preferred dress for Shabbat. Can a soldier pray in his uniform? Does a soldier say the Shehecheyanu blessing on receiving a new uniform? May a soldier in mourning rip his uniform at a family member’s funeral? According to Rabbi Aviner, yes, yes and yes, with extended explanation by Rabbi Tzion.
Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Cohen, zt”l, surprised Jerusalem rabbis when he arrived at his 1953 wedding wearing his IDF uniform rather than the shtreimel that was more common at Jerusalem rabbinic weddings. On being asked whether this was appropriate, Rabbi Zvi Yehudah Kook responded that the shtreimel is revered because of the great and holy people who wore it. In contrast, the IDF uniform is intrinsically holy. (See also the Ba’al HaTurim to Vayikra 6:3). This book is a tribute to the great mitzvah of defending the Jewish
State and a helpful guide to religious IDF soldiers.
Review by Ha-Rav Gil Student

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