Friday, August 9, 2019

Open Letter to Chabad rabbis


בס"ד
5 Menachem Av 5779[1]

To the esteemed Rabbonei Anash[2] who preside over Anash communities throughout New York State, and especially the esteemed members of the Beis Din Tzedek of the Rebbe’s own neighborhood, Crown Heights, שליט"א
And to all Anash in Crown Heights, New York State, and throughout the world, שיחיו

Peace and blessing.
News of a painful and deplorable situation has reached my ears, and I must bring it to your urgent attention.
Rumor has it that Rabbonei Anash of certain locations have given their imprimatur to administrators of numerous Anash schools and yeshivos to exclude children who haven’t received all the vaccines required by New York State’s mandatory vaccine schedule, which includes the Hepatitis-B vaccine. This rumor is bizarre and disturbing.
Of course, a child who hasn’t been immunized against Hepatitis-B poses no risk to anyone. Hepatitis-B can only be spread through intercourse, drug needles or blood transfusions. In fact, an individual who is sick with it may even attend school, as it’s not contagious through casual contact. There is no halachic or hashkafic reason that obliges a parent to give their child this vaccine, and there is absolutely zero halachic basis for coercing parents to submit to this state requirement.
Even the rabbinic adage “Do not separate yourself from the congregation” clearly does not apply in this case[3], as every shot, vaccine or injection poses some risk (albeit minimal) to its recipient. Indeed, every needle puncture is considered a חבלה, a wound which halacha prohibits inflicting upon oneself[4] unless it is medically indicated for an actual and necessary refuah to this specific individual, a healing procedure that the Torah requires because of ורפא ירפא, “…he shall surely heal” (his injured victim.) Surely our sages would never wish us to submit to possible risk or halachically-unjustifiable behavior just for the sake of “not separating from the congregation.”
(It should be noted that the NY State legislature is planning to add numerous other shots to the list of mandatory vaccines in the near future, including HPV, a vaccine that has been linked to infertility in girls, ה' ישמרנו.)[5]
Needless to say, it’s the exclusive right and prerogative of each individual to choose or decline this vaccine for himself and his children. As such, the recent law passed in New York State to bar a child from school (simply for not having been vaccinated for Hep-B) is unlawful and a violation of a parent’s First Amendment rights, as well as the most basic G-d-given rights of bodily autonomy and personal obligation to safeguard one’s own body from risk or unnecessary חבלה.
But more importantly, this law is a grave violation of our holy Torah which requires us to maintain schools that educate all children without exception. Nearly two-thousand years ago, in the days of Yehoshua ben Gamla[6], our sages enacted a communal obligation on every single Jewish community throughout the world to hire Torah teachers for all children of the city[7]. Any city that does not comply and does not have school-teachers for all its children is duly excommunicated until they comply with our sages’ ordinance[8], since the world only exists in the merit of the breath of the mouths of Jewish school children, a breath that has no sin, etc.[9]
No child is excluded from this communal obligation. Even a child who cannot read[10] or whose parents cannot afford tuition must be allowed to attend. The only valid halachic reason a teacher (and community) is exempted from teaching a student is actual incapacitating illness of the student.[11] Actual, not theoretical illness based on statistical models or speculative probabilities. Whoever wishes to interpret the halacha differently or nonliterally bears the onus of proof.
It goes without saying that it is patently forbidden to exclude any Jewish child from attending school and studying Torah for any other reason, how much more so because of an unlawful state ordinance that opposes the law of our holy Torah.
In light of the above, I was shocked to hear the recent disturbing news, that at this present time, thousands of Jewish children in your state and hundreds of Jewish children in your community have been wrongly ousted from their schools and yeshivos and are not permitted to return to school this coming Elul.
This horrific news has reached me davka at this tragic time of year, the Nine Days in which we mourn the destruction of the first two Holy Temples. The present dire situation invokes our sages’ ominous words:
"Rav Hamnuna said: Jerusalem was destroyed only because schoolchildren there were interrupted from studying Torah, as it is stated: '[And I am filled with the wrath of Hashem, I cannot contain it], pour it onto the children in the street...' (Yirmiyahu 6:11). Rav Hamnuna explains: What is the reason that the wrath is poured? It is because 'children are outside in the streets' and are not studying Torah." [12]
And here we are, 1,950 years later, Jewish children are yet again “outside on the streets,” being barred from attending school, “interrupted from learning Torah.” This outrageous situation worsens from day to day, and not one single word of protest… ואין פוצה פה ומצפצף!
What has happened to our rabbinic leadership? Why the silence? Why the inaction?
Who is taking responsibility for these children!?
The silence is deafening.
Numerous administrators have been asked: “Hayitochen? How can you throw out this child? Did you get a heter from a rov?”
They respond affirmatively, that rabbonei anash have granted them a heter and rabbinic stamp-of-approval to oust these children from school!
Hoyo lo sihye! Rachmono litzlan. Heaven forfend! Have we sunken so low that such obvious and basic Torah principles have eluded our rabbinic leadership?
Let’s judge our rabbis favorably and assume that this rumor is not accurate, and that administrators are acting independently of any rabbinic imprimatur. In that case, the question must be asked: why haven’t we heard even one single word of protest from any of our rabbonim?
Is it an example of Talmudic logic, “since they were silent, we may infer that they approve?”
Let’s recall the urgent words of the Rebbe, leader of our generation, regarding a similar situation:
If with regards to anything that a person sees or hears, one must contemplate (as explained above), how much more so with regards to something that affects an entire state in which millions of Jews reside, may they increase, and among whom hundreds of thousands of Jewish children who are not receiving any education with regards to Judaism…
Everyone is sitting idle. Not one word of protest.
There are rabbis, scholars, educators, G-d fearing people, public activists, etc.
No one is Heaven-forbid wasting their time… They’re all busy. They are all occupied with Torah and mitzvos.
But there are hundreds and thousands of Jewish children wandering the streets – each one of them is more precious than gold –
And I’m continuously urging: how can this continue!?
Why is everyone preoccupied with everything else, and this critical issue is brushed to the corner?
And when they are prodded on the issue, they respond with a sigh.
They convene a meeting, draft a resolution…
You must do something for this child!
You’re preoccupied?
Surely if G-d was able to designate time for all your other matters, matters in the plural, He will certainly give you the time to rescue a Jewish child.
How much more so if you can rescue – each person to the best of his ability – tens of Jewish children!
[Enough] excuses that you already drafted a resolution or organized a meeting… We need action!
What is actually being done for the Jewish child on your street corner? Or on the block of your synagogue or study hall!?
You may be preoccupied with lofty matters, but it does nothing for this child! He continues to drift with the influences of the street, and from day to day his spiritual well-being worsens – for a child must be educated in his youth – and with every day that passes while the child is in confusion it becomes increasing difficult to redirect him to an orderly lifestyle [of Torah education].[13]
Of course, one might argue that the Rebbe was referring to children who attend public school and whose parents don’t teach them about Yiddishkeit at home, etc, and here we are discussing children of Anash whose parents are Torah-observant and presumably value the mitzva of “You shall teach them to your children,” etc.
However, bear in mind that a significant number of Anash parents are themselves returnees who never had a formal yeshiva education and are not capable of teaching their children chumash, navi, etc. These children are surely doomed to be left without any chinuch at all. Furthermore, even children whose parents have yeshiva educations will undoubtedly be roaming the streets in boredom, especially those whose both parents work all day long.
Let’s remember the old adage of chassidim: “Even though he has not sinned, he is still a Jew.” A fellow Lubavitcher is also a Jew, and a Lubavitcher child is no less Jewish than any other Jewish child.
Throwing a Jewish child out of school is akin to a death sentence, in the spiritual sense at least. This sad fact has been tragically borne out time and time again in recent years.[14] It’s clear that it is dire pikuach nefesh to keep each precious Jewish child in school, unless for some serious life-threatening reason.
Can it be that Rabbonei Anash deem not getting immunized for Hepatitis-B vaccine to be a seriously life-threatening condition that warrants quarantining the child from his peers?
Is this seven-year-old indeed a public-health risk? Of course he isn’t. That is utter nonsense.
Don’t counter that these parents are at fault for refusing to obey state law to immunize their child for Hep-B etc. This fact is irrelevant to our communal obligation to educate this child. Imagine the state would decree that it is forbidden to put tefillin on a Jew who is delinquent on his state income taxes? Are we then required to obey such a dina d’malchusa!? Of course not. It’s obvious that dina d’malchusa dina[15] was not said when the government’s law opposes the law of the Torah.
Think: could you imagine the Rebbe agreeing to obey such an unjust law that requires us to ignore a Jew who hasn’t paid his speeding tickets? Would he approve of barring a Jewish woman from the mikva because she hasn’t paid her parking tickets to the city or state? Would the Rebbe agree to barring such a Jew from shul, to deprive him from hearing shofar or megila or from attending a Torah class!? Why is seven-year-old Mendel from Crown Heights any worse?
If the rumor is indeed accurate, and any single rabbi of Rabbonei Anash has permitted such bizarre conduct, to exclude Jewish children from school/yeshiva because of non-compliance of the state’s mandatory vaccine schedule, then we – all of Anash and all the Rebbe’s shluchim – are obligated to turn to these rabbonim and demand: “מהיכן דנתוניwhat is the source of your halachic ruling!?”
Where have you found a source to permit interrupting Tinokos shel beis Rabbon (Jewish school children) from their studies, something that halacha does not permit us to do even for the construction of the Beis Hamikdash!?
And if there is no source, no precedent, no rhyme or reason to this bizarre psak, then we – all of Anash, shluchim, and anyone who goes by the nickname chossid – are obligated to protest this errant psak with all our being.
Therefore, “in a place where there is no man,” in the stunning and appalling silence that prevails throughout Lubavitch, there is no choice but for me to be the first one to sound my voice in dire and urgent protest.
I hereby protest this horrific situation and this lapse of rabbinic leadership that exists in Anash communities throughout New York State, and most shockingly, the Rebbe’s own community. An outrageous and unprecedented Chilul Hashem and Chilul Sheim Lubavitch, Hashem yeracheim.
A colossal failure of leadership in Lubavitch that is unprecedented in the annals of chabad history…
It is not my intent to point fingers or accuse any one individual rabbi, Heaven forfend. With humility, I ask forgiveness in advance to any one person who feels slighted. But please understand that when Chilul Hashem is at stake, there can be no silence and no limud zechus.
I hereby make this protest on behalf of all Lubavitch, but surely all others ought to follow suit and protest this dire situation themselves. Everyone ought to protest, all Anash from every corner of the earth, and certainly of Crown Heights, and even any person who cherishes the Torah and its commandments, irrespective of anyone’s position on vaccines. This protest has nothing to do with vaccines. It is simply about barring Jewish children from learning Torah for no valid reason.
Our protest is unequivocal and unambiguous. We deplore the shameful actions of brazen school administrators. We deplore misguided rabbinic rulings that are causing such an unthinkable stumbling block in the Rebbe’s neighborhood and elsewhere. We protest the silence, inaction, idleness, and indifference to the horrible travesty that has been committed against innocent Jewish school children, Tinokos shel Beis Rabbon. We condemn the singling out of these precious children, “each one more precious than gold.” We condemn the bizarre treatment they’ve received from administrators and directors, as if they’re lepers or untouchables, Hashem yishmor, to be publicly humiliated, scorned, and neglected by those who are supposed to represent Torah education!!
We turn to these rabbonim (if the rumor is indeed true) and say with great sorrow:
With all due respect, this is not a correct ruling. Is not a true psak din according to the Torah[16]. You are in grave error.
A non-Jew may not decide which child is or isn’t entitled to a Jewish education.
What does a non-Jew have to do with – l’havdil – tinokos shel Beis Rabbon, holy of holies!?
Let’s recall the timeless words of the Previous Rebbe (Rayatz), moments before his journey to exile in Kastrama on the Third of Tamuz 5687: [17]
We did not depart from the Land of Israel of our own free will, nor shall we return to the Land of Israel by virtue of our own capabilities. Gd, our Father and King, has sent us into exile. He, may He be blessed, shall redeem us and gather in the dispersed from the four corners of the earth, and cause us to be led back firmly and proudly by Moshiach, our righteous Redeemer — may this occur speedily, in our times.
However, all the nations of the world must know this: Only our bodies were sent into exile and subjugated to alien rule; our souls were not given over into captivity and foreign rule.
We must proclaim openly and before all that any matter affecting the Jewish religion, Torah, and its mitzvot and customs is not subject to the coercion of others. No one can impose his belief upon us, nor coerce us to conduct ourselves contrary to our beliefs.
It is our solemn and sacred task to cry out and state with the ancient steadfastness of the Jewish people, with courage derived from thousands of years of self-sacrifice: “Touch not My anointed nor attempt to do evil to My prophets.”[18]
It’s high time that all those who follow in his path – all chassidei Chabad, i.e. Anash, shluchim, and certainly Rabbonei Anash – should declare as one: “Touch not my anointed – these are tinokos shel beis rabban!” It’s time for us all to stand firm and steadfast and oppose this unlawful decree. It’s time for us to care for each and every Jewish child, even the Lubavitcher child from your street corner whose parents have a different opinion from you about Hep-B vaccine. It’s time for us all to ensure that every Jewish child in our neighborhood be entitled to learn Torah with other children, as is his Divine right. It’s time we refuse to abandon even one single child, even if the government threatens to shut down our entire school. Like the Rambam rules:
If gentiles will demand one of a group of women, saying: "Yield us one of among you and we will defile her, if not we will defile you all", let all be defiled, rather than surrender to them one soul in Israel. [Mishna, Terumos 8:12]. Likewise, if gentiles will say to a group of men: "Yield us one of you and we will kill him, if not we will kill you all", let all of them be killed rather than surrender to them one soul in Israel. If, however, they single out the one, saying: "Give us that man, if not we will kill you all", if he be guilty of a capital crime, as, for example, Sheba son of Bichri [Samuel II 20:1], they may surrender him to them, but it is not commendable to advise them to do so; if he be not guilty of a capital crime, they all must submit rather than surrender them one soul in Israel. [19]
Let’s remember that this timeless psak din from the Rambam is Yesodei Hatorah, the foundations of our holy faith. It is non-negotiable.
Let no one argue that this young child has the halachic status of Sheva ben Bichri, since his parents deprived him of immunity to Hep-B for example, and consequently, they themselves are guilty for depriving him of an education, etc. This is a specious and spurious argument. For one, even if it were true that this child is akin to Sheva ben Bichri, deserving to be singled out and barred from school, the Rambam would rule that it is not commendable to advise the administration to do so. How much more so when the child is not guilty of the death penalty according to the Torah, and clearly does not have the status of a rodef (one who is actively endangering others), as he does not endanger anyone by not being immunized for Hep-B. How much more so is it forbidden to prevent him from learning Torah with other children. Let the non-Jews shut down the entire school but let us not abandon even one soul in Israel![20]
Let no one counter that the benefit of the public outweighs the benefit of the individual[21], as that would apply if the individual were directly affecting a negative influence on others. Here, we are discussing a child who simply wants to learn, as is his inviolable right al pi Torah, but the non-Jews decreed that he may not attend and may not learn, in direct opposition to Torah law. His presence in the classroom is not detracting from the public’s benefit in any way, if not for the unlawful and oppressive non-Jewish decree itself.
If only all Rabbonei Anash and all their adherents would rally together to stand up for something so basic, elementary, and essential, to insist on defending the right of all Jewish children to learn Torah without compromise and without abandoning even one student. Halevai the greater Anash community would muster the courage and clarity to come together to oppose this unlawful edict.
But alas, instead, to our great sorrow, we see the exact opposite. Our rabbonim sit silently with folded arms, looking on passively as hundreds and thousands of Jewish children are ousted from school to roam the streets. As mentioned, the situation deteriorates from day to day, in the Rebbe’s neighborhood, Hashem yeracheim… A shame and ignominy to all residents of the neighborhood, and to all Anash worldwide, and most importantly, to the Rabbonim and Morei D’asro, upon whom lies the full responsibility for this appalling situation in their midst. And yet we hear nary a word of protest from any Rov of Anash anywhere. Silence from Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch. Silence from Aguch. Silence from everyone. Shomu shomayim[22].
Where is the “Geon Yaakov,” the yiddishe shtoltz, the stuff a Chabad chossid is made of? Where is the mesiras nefesh of a chossid to stand up to any opposition to the observance of Torah and mitzvos, as our holy Rebbeim taught us by living example, and as the Previous Rebbe paved the way for us with his fearless stance against Stalinist Russia, when he proclaimed for all nations of the world: “Touch not My anointed!” !? When will we follow the Rebbe’s lead and refuse to abandon even one single Jewish child? When will Rabonei Anash take an uncompromising stance on defending tinokos shel beis rabbon!?
Where is our hiskashrus to the Rebbe when he cried out urgently: “M’darf heren di gevein fun a yiddish kind! – we must hear the cry of a Jewish child!” !?
At the time of the writing of this letter, hundreds and thousands of Jewish children are crying throughout the State of New York and throughout the Rebbe’s own neighborhood. They’re weeping bitterly, demanding “למה נגרע? Why are we being deprived of a Jewish education? Why are we being prevented by our own administrators, rabbeim and rabonim from attending yeshiva with our friends!? How can it be that we are being prevented from joining our peers for tefilla b’tzibur and for learning Torah!? How can it be that our rabbonim and administrators decreed that we be treated like lepers and outcasts, condemned to stay at home, בדד ישב מחוץ למחנה מקונו – “he shall sit in solitude outside of the camp”!?
How can Rabbonei Anash heartlessly ignore the piercing cries of many hundreds and thousands of Jewish children, including children of Anash on their own street corner?
How can any Lubavitcher or any Jew of conscience possibly remain indifferent to the tears of these children, abandoned by their own community and its leadership!?
No need to elaborate on such a painful topic. Let’s all work to correct this situation starting from right now.
My fervent wish is that Rabbonei Anash have already regretted their inaction (or worse) until now and are already planning to correct this appalling situation immediately. Chaval on every moment that this present situation continues. Let’s remember the Rebbe’s words: “The main thing is action!” Tut epes far’n kind! – “Do something for the child!”
If the Rabbonim don’t deem it feasible to order administrators to disregard state law at risk of being shut down, then at the very least, let’s hear a rabbinic statement of protest, and let them galvanize their communities to publicly oppose this unlawful ordinance. More importantly, let them influence their adherents to open new schools that will accommodate all Jewish children. Let them urge their community to hire schoolteachers to teach groups of children – 25 children per melamed as required by halacha[23] – and hold classes in shuls, shtibelach, homes, etc., as was the original takana that each town and community hire melamdim to teach all the local children, “כל תינוקות שבעירwithout exception.
Let these children know that they will not be abandoned, and that the entire community stands with them and will work tirelessly to ensure that they learn Torah too, as Chazal decreed for the past two millennia, since before the churban Beis Hamikdash.
And let us hope and pray that in these current days, we will merit to construct the third Beis Hamikdash – and even then, we shall not interrupt tinokos shel beis rabbon from their holy studies, as the Rambam rules[24] in Hilchos Talmud Torah and repeated it again in Hilchos Beis Habechira (which we are currently studying), כפליים לתושיה
And in order to hasten its construction, which we have been yearning for 1,950 years, let’s prepare ourselves and our communities, especially shechunas hamelech, Crown Heights, by seeing to it that “all the children of the city” – the Rebbe’s city – be permitted to attend a Jewish school without interruption, harassment or hindrances, whether from without or within. In the merit of ensuring that there is no עולל בחוץ, no Jewish child is left outside the walls of the school or beis hamidrash, we shall surely merit the Beis Hamikdash hashlishi built and completed, descended from above, with the complete geula and the Rebbe at our head, here below 10 handbreadths, and he will redeem us.
May these days be transformed to days of joy and celebration.
Sincerely, and stating all the above solely for the sake of the Torah, the honor of our holy Rebbeim, and for the sake of the precious tinokos shel beis rabban, in the merit of whose breath the world exists,
Michoel B. Green,
Shliach of the Rebbe
Westborough, MA

PS: With regards to protest, I submitted a signed affidavit to the judge who is hearing the case against New York State. This letter is available upon request. Of course, I submitted it as an individual representing no one other than myself. It is my hope, however, that Rabbonei Anash, lay leadership, and the mosdos of Chabad, Merkos, Aguch, etc., will all follow suit and issue formal protests of their own, and work to see the law repealed.


[1] The week of Parshas Devorim in which we read the words “וטפכם אשר אמרתם...והם יירשוה” – “And your children whom you had said would be despoiled… they will inherit it” – a timeless reminder about the most basic tenet of our faith, that the Torah is a personal and eternal inheritance of every single Jewish child without exception, as it states: “The Torah that Moshe commanded us is an inheritance of the congregation of Yaakov,” and that it is categorically forbidden to deprive Torah education from even once single Jewish child, irrespective of his age, family background or parents’ life choices.
[2] Note: “Anash” stands for anshei shlomeinu, figuratively “men of our assembly.” It refers to all Chabad chassidim. Literally, it means “Men of our mutual well-being,” i.e. people about whose well-being we particularly care about. Surely we all ought care about the well-being of the children of fellow Lubavitchers, anshei shlomeinu.
[3] Moreover, this adage was stated in Tractate Avos, “Mili d’chasidusa,” teachings of exemplary piety that exhort the student to go “beyond the letter of the law.” Surely such laudatory conduct cannot be enforced on the community. Surely children cannot be barred from school simply because their parents had not observed a teaching of exemplary piety that is not incumbent on all Jews, not שווה לכל נפש.
[4] See Igros Moshe Orach Chaim vol. 3 siman 90, written to one who was prohibited from fasting on Yom Kippur due to a serious health condition, but would have been able to fast if he’d receive certain injection(s), to which Rabbi Feinstein ruled that he must eat on Yom Kippur and may NOT receive an otherwise-unnecessary injection.
[5] According to recent studies. See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29889622/
[6] Bava Basra 21a. Hilchos Talmud Torah by the Alter Rebbe, 1:3.
[7] The Alter Rebbe’s wording: “בעד כל תינוקות שבעיר”.
[8] It should be noted that the Rambam (Hilchos Talmud Torah 2:1) rules that if the city still refuses to hire teachers for all its children, even after being excommunicated, then the city should be destroyed! Jewish people must move away from such a community, which is to be dismantled and abandoned since it would not provide teachers for its children!
[9] Shabbos 119b. Alter Rebbe’s Hilchos Talmud Torah Ibid. See sources cited in the footnotes there.
[10] Yoreh Deah ibid 245:9
[11] Code of Jewish Law, Choshen Mishpat 334:4.
[12] Shabbos ibid.
[13] Purim 5747 (printed in Sefer Hisvaaduyos 5747 volume 2, page 618.
[14] “Mosdos which throw kids out of school are causing them to be broken for life,” said Rabbi Yosef Y. Braun, member of the Badatz of Crown Heights. View his entire talk at https://youtu.be/JkF-pmZMpek . Oddly, we have not heard a single word of protest from him with regards to the recent situation in which hundreds of local children are being thrown out of school. His silence is strangely uncharacteristic. Let’s hope to hear his decisive psak on this urgent matter in the very near future.
[15] “The king’s law is the law.” See the words of the Rashba in his responsa, which is quoted by Beis Yosef in Choshen Mishpat siman 26. See also Mishneh Halochos volume 9, siman 334 and the sources quoted therein.
[16] The Rebbe’s response when he was told about Rabbi M Feinstein’s ill-advised psak permitting travel on Zim Cruise Line: "אין זה פס"ד אמיתי ע"פ תורה" – according to an article in a recent Chabad publication.
[17] Letter from 19 Iyar, 5688.
[18] Jewish children are called “משיחי,” My (G-d’s) anointed, as per Shabbos ibid. According to our sages, when the verse states: “Touch not My anointed” (Divrei Hayamim I 16:22), it means “Don’t attempt to prevent Jewish children from studying Torah.”
[19] Mishneh Torah, Yesodei Hatorah 5:5
[20] The fact that some of these parents may have disregarded the Badatz’s ruling concerning MMR is irrelevant, since the state requires numerous other vaccines for diseases which clearly do not pose a present danger to anyone in the child’s vicinity. And even if we are to assume (albeit rather presumptuously) that the Rebbe’s view in favor of vaccinating stands for all vaccines in all times and all places without exception… does anyone really imagine that the Rebbe would support throwing Jewish children out of school on that account!? The Rebbe may have encouraged people to take the polio vaccine, but did he ever suggest that parents are to be coerced to do so? Or forced into submission by excluding their children from Jewish schools!? Does anyone truly believe that it is the Rebbe’s rotzon to punish children for their parent’s lack of compliance by cruelly depriving them of attending school with their peers!?
[21] The Rebbe was once consulted by an Israeli yeshiva’s administration who were in doubt as to whether to evict a student who was negatively influencing other students but hesitated to oust him since he’d undoubtedly end up in the army with all its anti-religious influences. The Rebbe responded: “תועלת הרבים דוחה תועלת היחיד” – “the benefit of the public outweighs the benefit of the individual.” This student had been actively influencing other students in a negative way.
[22] Yirmiyahu 2:12. Roughly translates to “Oy heavens, be astonished about this,” expressing absolute shock and disbelief.
[23] Hilchos Talmud Torah by the Alter Rebbe, ibid.
[24] “We do not interrupt the studies of tinokos shel beis rabban, even for the construction of the Holy Temple!”

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