The man at the center of a growing scandal over illegal
election funding practices by the Labor party is Cabinet
Secretary Yitzchok Herzog. Herzog is the son of the former
president Chaim Herzog, and the grandson of former Chief
Rabbi HaRav Yitzchok Isaac HaLevi Herzog. In a recent
interview with Yediot Acharonot, Herzog recounts some
of his childhood experiences. "I'll never forget how my
kindergarten teacher would say, when I got out of hand: `What
would your grandfather say about this?'" he recalled.
"Echoes of this question have been pursuing me my entire
In the wake of the disclosures of Herzog's involvement in the
various bogus non-profit organizations that served as funding
channels for Barak's elections campaign--and which presented
a decidedly anti-chareidi face to the public--the question
arises again. The Comptroller's report related to that point.
In the same edition, Yediot Acharonot reports on one
NPO, whose expressed goal was "to promote the overall
drafting of all of the State's citizens into the IDF and to
publicly explain the need for the equal sharing of the
Prior to the elections, this NPO ran a bitter public campaign
against the chareidi community and the Torah world. It turns
out that Herzog personally signed the checks that funded this
group's activities. Well, Mr. Herzog, what would your
grandfather say about that?
About ten years ago, we published the decisive view of Chief
Rabbi Herzog regarding the issue of the bnei yeshivos.
They were published after the erstwhile president, Yitzchok
Herzog's father, had in a most irritating manner, criticized
a speech by Maran, the Rosh Hayeshiva at the Degel HaTorah
In that speech, Maran had spoken about the danger of
heretical secularism in general and the Leftist movement in
President Chaim Herzog criticized and subtly mocked bnei
yeshiva and their rabbonim, referring to them as "those
who never heard the din of battle." He also spoke about IDF
fallen, and said "By all rights, we should stand beside their
graves and beg their forgiveness."
In the wake of these remarks, we published the unequivocal
opinion of HaRav Yitzchok Herzog, zt"l, on this issue.
They appear in Heichal Yitzchok in an article called
"The Importance of the Yeshivos in the Life of the Jewish
People." They were taken from a speech HaRav Herzog had
delivered at a meeting of prominent Israeli industrialists.
In that speech, Harav Herzog said that we must acknowledge
the fact that the yeshiva students and their rabbonim are the
spiritual heroes of the Nation.
Rav Hertzog wrote:
"When we ask ourselves how the Jewish Nation, a lamb
scattered among millions of wolves for nearly 2000 years,
pressured by the crucible of affliction of the harsh exile,
nonetheless once more merited to lay the foundations of its
future in its Land? What is the amazing secret of the
eternity of the Jewish nation? You might say: the
persecutions did not allow us to assimilate among the nations
of the world and they have, against our will made us not only
a lone nation but also an isolated one.
"But you should know that before the Nazi fiend fashioned his
racist philosophy, the nations demanded of Israel only one
thing: `Come let us be one people' (Sanhedrin 39 b ).
Be like us. Assimilate and intermingle with us. What
prevented this from occurring? Only the Torah which is the
source of the Nation's soul.
"Simple nationalism, when it lacks faith and cleavage to the
living G-d, nationalism which is devoid of Torah and mitzvos,
could in no way have wrought the historical wonder of
endurance of the Jewish Nation and its revival.
"For hundreds upon hundreds of years of exile, our
nationalism had no substantial basis on which to lean....
"We have endured throughout our exile only on the strength of
the Torah she'be'al peh, the Oral Law, on the strength
of that Divine current which flows from generation to
generation and which originates from the very foundry of our
people. Jewish history testifies to this. Let all those sects
and circles of our Nation who abandoned the Oral Law come and
testify. Where are they today?
"In respect to the settlement of the Land, all believe in the
adage: `the revival of the Nation in its Land.' But can such
a revival take place without a spiritual revival? Without the
revival of all those Divine values for whose implementation
our Nation came into being? "V'es ruchi etain
bekirbechem, And My spirit I will give among you",
Yechezkel said regarding the return of the Nation to its
Land. `My spirit,'and not just any `spirit', not the sprit
which originates from alien sources, because modern culture
is totally contaminated by tumas ha'meis, by the
negation of the soul.
"The culture of the nations is devoid of all content, and has
no spiritual or ethical force. `My spirit' specifically, the
original Jewish spirit. The spirit of both the Written and
the Oral Law. A spiritual revival of the Jewish Nation cannot
transpire without the Oral Law, and the Oral Law cannot be
maintained without the yeshivos. The entire Torah center in
Eretz Yisroel serves as a new source for the spiritual
revival of the Nation.
"Eretz Yisroel is the symbolic Mikdosh of the Nation
and there is no Mikdosh without a Kodesh
Kodashim. What is our current Kodesh Kodashim? The
sacred yeshivos which are the foundries of dvar Hashem, zu
halocho, places in which His Shechina rests on the land,
or as Chazal have said: `since the day of the destruction of
the Beis Hamikdash, Hakodosh Boruch Hu has naught in
His world but the four cubits of the halocho.'
"Our heart grieves over the yeshivos in the Diaspora which
were totally destroyed, the abodes of Torah, which were
uprooted and are no more. But Hakodosh Boruch Hu preceded the
blow with a cure, and planted Torah in Eretz Yisroel.
"Now that the people are building the land, which is the
Mikdash of the Nation which in Hashem's mercy have
been saved from the destruction, in their own merit and the
merit of Torah, it is our sacred obligation to strengthen and
fortify that kodesh kodashim, the abodes of Torah in
the land of the avos and the prophets.
"It is written 'This is the Torah, a man who dies in the
tent.' Chazal explain: The Torah perseveres only by means of
one who perishes for its sake. This maxim penetrates the very
depths of our souls. Torah doesn't negate life. Quite the
contrary is true. Torah commands us to love life, and
stresses the value of life.
"The meaning of this idea is that Torah can persevere only by
means of one who perishes for its sake, who sacrifices his
sum and substance, his inner self, on the alter of the
"Those bnei Torah who dwell in the tents of Torah and
who don't think about careers or a materialistic future, but
sacrifice themselves and their inner cores for the sake of
the upholding of Torah in our Nation, are our spiritual
"The yeshiva students and their Rabbonim, as the Rambam says
are `Hashem's soldiers, the spiritual army of the Jewish
HaRav Herzog concludes by saying that the Jewish Nation needs
the yeshiva students, and by calling them "the spiritual army
which safeguards the Nation's spiritual treasures."
We can only ask Yitzchok Herzog once again: "What would your
grandfather have said about this?"