Apr 28, 2009

Standing at home for the siren

I don't know who Eliezer Hayon is or what his background is, but he writes an article in Ynet about why Haredim do not commemorate Yom HaZikaron - Memorial Day, and Yom Ha'Atzmaut - Independence Day. He posits that it is not because they are anti this or that or have special reasons why these days are wrong to celebrate. It is as simple as not being interested. The day is meaningless to them.

It is meaningless because they do not fight in the army, so the issue of Memorial Day, for the most part, does not affect them. They do not take part in governance - at best as they say they are part of government just to get for the community the resources they need, but not to actually participate in governance. It just is not relevant to them.

I think there is a lot of truth in what he says, even if it is not 100% correct.

Personally, I am not a big fan of the siren. I don't see its point or purpose. Of course when I am found anywhere outside of my own home I will stand in silence, and think about the soldiers. But when I am sitting in my living room or at my dining room table, I see no purpose in standing up. Even if it is just to show solidarity, I see no purpose in doing this at home where nobody sees my solidarity. So I stand up everywhere, except in the privacy of my own home.

My kids get excited by anything out of the ordinary. Naturally, the siren also excites them. On the one hand they get to look like troublemakers by standing (as they are in regular haredi schools, so standing is not something they are supposed to do in school) which is always exciting, on the other hand if they make a ruckus in public, they also get to look like troublemakers. For some reason, they like looking like troublemakers.

So right before the siren, while we are eating inner, the kids go outside on the porch. I thought it was ok at first, as perhaps they wanted to see cars stopping for the siren, and if outside they should be respectful. They started (before the siren) to make a ruckus, calling out to people about the siren. I immediately brought them in. I told them that I don't feel a need to stand in the privacy of my own home. If they want to stand that is fine, if they don't want to stand that is fine (inside). However, even if they do not stand in silence (inside), they have to be respectful. No making fun of anybody, no laughing about it, nothing disrespectful. Whether you stand or not, people lost relatives - sons, parents, siblings - people died defending the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael and they deserve our utmost respect. Stand or not, but be respectful.


  1. This post makes me a bit sad. Precisely because you are a mentch and a Torah committed yid. I would have hoped that you would at least want to feel connected. How else can we rally achieve achdus?

  2. I find this post troubling.
    I have issues with the way the state memorial days are done. I believe that Yom Hashoa is better marked on 10 Tevet.
    Everyone who walks on the streets in modern Israel does so because soldiers fought and died.
    I would rather have everyone stop what they're doing and read a few pirkei tehillim. Why don't they do that in the haredi schools. After all their rationale for not going to the army is that they are protecting us by learning tora. (Not that they think we don't need protection.) So why not a tora oriented way to remember those who their tora seemingly didn't protect?

  3. Agree with the first two posts. Whether or not charedim fight or don't in the army, whether or not they participate in the government l'shma, every word of Torah charedim learn today in Israel is thanks to the army that Hashem allowed to built in Israel today.

    Not showing respect for those who died and a minimum of ahavat Yisrael for the JEWISH souls that died for our sake, when millions of Jews showed "respect" and "gratefulness" for foreign powers (ie: prayers for foreign various kings, queens, presidents said weekly in shul all over Europe and America; said more out of fear, but still it was done) throughout history is the most galling irony of all.

    No one is required to agree 100% with how YHZ is celebrated. But respect is required. And Ahavat Yisrael is a mitzva every day of the year.

  4. I agree with all of you, but I am not sure what troubles Shimon? That when I am in my living room I dont stand?
    I dont stand (in private) because what unity do I display? I sit instead of stand, and think about the soldiers. Nobody sees, I am not contraveng anything. Just the opposite - I taught my children that whatever they do about the siren itself, even in private they must show respect.
    In public, really anywhere outside of my own living room, I stand and I think everybody should when in public places (public not necessarily being in the street - anywhere where there are other people).

    About the schools - the column I referenced suggests that they do not because they don't recognize the relevance to them. I agree it is wrong and they should recognize the relevance. Whether it is by standing - I can see a reason to argue that they should not stop learning for standing at a siren. But perhaps they should find another way to display that respect. But it is not happening, so I do not think the author of the column got it right, at least not completely.

  5. I just saw this response to Hayon's column.

    It is written by Yauir Bochorov who at least looks haredi in his picture (I have no idea of Hayon is haredi or just suggesting why the haredim do what they do). I agree with everything Bochorov says in his column of why people, including haredim, should stand. In public. He does not differentiate, but I still suspect that in private, neither he nor many other people stand. there is no display of unity in the privacy of ones home. it is feelings, and everybody will feel the unity differently. maybe one will stand, and another will sit and think, and another will say tehillim, and another will light a candle. Whatever someone does - in the privacy of his own home is just that. In public they should stand.

  6. If you feel the need to stand in public to show solidarity, then perhaps you also shouldn't publicize on your blog that you don't stand. It can be pretty insulting to someone who lost a relative, and in fact even to me who didn't lose any close relatives in the fighting, yet I still feel like it was my brothers who were killed.

  7. anon - I feel that way as well. I have lit candles for soldiers with tragic stories. I have gone to funerals and memorials on occasion. Maybe you are right and I should not have publicized it, but I think a difference of opinion is legitimate, and in public I stand like everyone else. The point of the post was really the lesson to be respectful no matter what you think of the siren itself. But maybe you are right about not publicizing.

  8. I do not believe that Eliyahu Haron exists and if he does, he is not Hareidi. I believe the article to be a total blood libel; very suited to YNet's goal of being an anti-Hareidi website.

    Read the venom of the talkbackers and you would think you are in Nazi Germany.

    The article is full of inaccuracies as I pointed out in talkback 39.

  9. I put a flag on my car and also displayed one from my porch.

    A (well?) meaning neighbor criticized me for being so "tzioni" as I am the product of a very Charedi chinuch and identify as such.

    My reply to him was regarding the flags he displayed on his car on Purim. He had 2 Kupa flags on his car as well as posters taped to the car (I showed my support as well).

    I said to him..why did you have Kupa flags on your car on Purim? Have you ever benefitted from them or received money? He replied that he hadn't but he wanted to show support for the the good things that they do.

    I said to him: if you want to show support as someone who hasn't received help how much more would you show support if you had been assisted. He agreed.

    I then went on to remind him that: he receives a monthly stipend for his children, part of his kollel salary comes from the government, he has the freedom to live as a Charedi Jew, his health care is taken care of, he receives a discount from taxes, etc, etc.
    Therefore the government of our medina has done many more times for him (and for me) than any organization so why does he object to my shwing support the same way he did for Kupa.

    Although we are friends and neighbors he didn't accept my "mussar" so lightly (as I intended). He shrugged his shoulders and replied "well like I said you're becoming a tzioni" and walked away.

    The car flag issue is now nil as some other well meaning neighbors disposed of it for me.

  10. it is something that cannot really be argued, because it is more of an emotional/social issue than a real rational issue.

    good argument though. I like it.

  11. rafi

    i was also surprised by your sitting down in private. i don't take offense per se, but i have two issues:

    1. if you are ALONE in your own home, there is a value in "standing united" with klal yisrael and performing the act that the jewish state has chosen to signify the day, irrelevant of who sees your action. knowing that you are doing the same as your brethren is enough of a reason to do so.

    2. are you really alone? i don't want to get off telling you how to raise your children, but since you mentioned in the post that you disciplined them about respect and called them in, i'll expand on it. specifically when you have children enrolled in schools that will not teach the philosophy and weltanschauung / hashkafa that you hold dear, i feel it is extremely important for you to seize this opportunity to sensitize your children to it by davka standing up. just MHO.

  12. but I dont want to teach them to davka stand up, except in public. In private I see no purpose in it. I dont see unity in my standing up in my living room (unless I have other people over).
    So I taught them that in private there is not necessarily a need to stand (debatable but my POV), but they still have to be respectful and understand what is hapening, and remember/think about the fallen soldiers, or at least (if they do not know any fallen soldiers which they do not) that people go to serve in the army to protect the jewish people and eretz yisrael so we can live here safely.

  13. "I sit instead of stand, and think about the soldiers."
    This clarification makes me feel a lot better.
    I don't really care if you stand or sit. But contrary to what you say "not a big fan of the siren. I don't see its point or purpose." I think that even while sitting - stopping and thinking together with everyone else can be very meaningful even if you are alone.

  14. during the tzfirah i stop and say tehillim for the victims of the shoah/chayalim/victims of piguim. in public i stand to show respect and solidarity. in my home i do not stand, but definitely still stop to say tehillim. i do not think that in the privacy of one's home it is disrespectful to remain seated.

  15. telling them to be respectful and making a point to stand up out of respect are two very different lessons and can be the דוגמה אישית necessary for them to internalize the message.

  16. Saying Tehilim (preferably kapitlach that are apropos to Yom haZikaron) is a very proper thing and a wondedrfully Torahdig way to commemorate the memory of the Kedoshim who gave their lives for Klal Yisroel.

    Just that in public amongst not neccesarily religious Jews it might not be understood as a form of paying respect and could be misunderstood as cholilo being woefully callous and meanspirited. (like talking during in the middle of someone's levaya during the eulogies)

  17. Of course one can continue to think about the Kedoshim beyond the tzefira, on everyday of the year.

  18. today I am remembering my father's first cousin who died defending the Jewish homeland in the '67 war.

    I am remembering my friend's brother, who died in a terror attack on a bus.

  19. standing inside is like lighting chanuka candles when you are all alone. it's still pirsumei nissah and makes you dwell on the occurrence. My kids and I stand whenever the national anthem plays - at home on TV. of course, no one else sees us. but I believe it teaches them that it is important and when they are in pubic, they won't hesitate to stand and participate.

  20. really? the ballgame comes on they play the national anthem and you stand up? we never did that growing up (and now it is rare for me to watch sporting events)....

  21. I agree with shaya and hubscubs- kids don't always get the nuanced view of "Do it this way outside but it's ok to do it this way at home."

    Kids learn best through consistency. If you consistently stand for sirens, even at home, they learn that the siren deserves respect at all times, even when nobody sees

  22. we do it every time we catch the anthem. Now, in public, my kids jump up, when the anthem plays and don't even think about it. I have gotten many compliments from people that they are proud to see orthodox jews standing and singing the anthem, especially the kids. is it a real kiddush hashem? I don't know, but it can't hurt!

  23. If you wanted to teach your kids to be respecful- you would takka have them stand quietly even at home. Since when do you we congratulate our kids for "not being disrespectful"? I can appreciate your point about refraining from observing the moment of silence if you were alone in the house, but not if you'r kids are home. Observing the siren is a meager- MEAGER- way of showing respect to soldiers who died so that there could be a RBS. Most were secular and this is the secular custom for honoring their memory- so I think the frum world can tolerate it. I'm sure it's an immeasurable comfort to the soldiers' families to know that an entire country has their child in mind for one minute a year. The fact that honoring their memory is even debated in the frum world is a busha beyond description. I don't see the frum world apply such a stringent test to other esoteric minhagim or chumrot. When the frum world wants to do something- people will invent whatever rationale is called for. Today- you don't see the "point or purpose" of the siren? I find that hard to believe. I'm sure if your sons were to serve, you would quickly see the point.

  24. So I taught them that in private there is not necessarily a need to stand (debatable but my POV), but they still have to be respectful and understand what is hapening, and remember/think about the fallen soldiers, or at least (if they do not know any fallen soldiers which they do not) that people go to serve in the army to protect the Jewish people and eretz yisrael so we can live here safely.Rafi, I think you are completely wrong in this case and I would urge you to teach your children a little differently. Mainly because "Yom Hazikaron" is just the short form of "יום הזכרון לחללי מערכות ישראל ולנפגעי פעולות האיבה‎" or roughly a "memorial day for fallen soldiers and terror victims". Even if you or your kids don't know any fallen soldiers (or families of fallen soldiers), and even if you don't believe that Israel should exist as a modern state with an army, Jews are Jews, and Jewish terror victims are Jews, all of Charedi, Dati, and Chiloni.

    Perhaps you can explain why you don't feel the need to stand in unity, no matter where you may be located at the time, in memory of terror victims?

    Also, why wouldn't standing during the siren be considered a "minhag hamakom" and thus be obligatory (obviously unless it conflicts with a real halacha) on you wherever you might be?

    Finally, what if everyone standing during the memorial period (a mere minute or two) is a prerequisite for biyat hamashiach?

    Frankly, I was shocked when I read what you wrote in this post.


  25. what I find hysterical is that the excuse given for not supporting the moment of silence is "chukos hagoyim". aside from the basic halachic issues with this pathetic excuse is how far people take it. I just heard last weekend that the reason someone didn't like it when shules "sing songs", is because of chukos hagoyim. of course, goyim where clothing and eat food and breath air as well, but that didn't stop this moron from getting upset about the singing in shule.

  26. I think im missing something, as i am every year about this time.

    Why is a siren the correct way for a Jew to mourn and to remember?

    Since when is this what we do?

    I dont think its the proper way for us to behave, to mourn, to remember. We have ways. Tehillim, mishnayos, etc.

    Therefore, I agree with Rafi that the reason to stand is out of respect to the people who see you ignoring the siren, who think you are being callous and rude. Therefore, if you are in your own home, there is no need to adopt a foreign custom, and pretend that its our custom

  27. I fail to be convinced that I was wrong, though good points were raised. The one comment that might be right is the one that suggested that when my kid will be in the army, I might change my opinion. That might be true - a different perspective might make me come to a different decision. when my kid goes to the army I will let you know if I think differently about it.

    As it stands, while I love eretz yisrael and love medinat yisrael (even if I dont like everything any specific government might do) and am very patriotic, I still do not see the importance of standing for the siren in my living room. If there was an official singing of hatikva that I heard, I would probably stand (not if I was watching the Cubs game like my brother said he does), but I do not agree that such must be done IN PRIVATE for the siren.

  28. anon of 11:58 -

    just where do you think most of our customs come from? they are integrated from the various countries and cultures jews have lived through. who are you to say "it's not our custom" and "I dont think its the proper way for us to behave, to mourn, to remember." why not? what's so bd a bout a moment of specific thought and prayer? we do it for the aseres yemaei teshuvah - one should do teshuva all year, yet we still designate specific days for extra introspection. come up with a mekor and not an "I don't think".

  29. Rafi - I still do not see the importance of standing for the siren in my living room.[space]

    But you aren't standing "for the siren"! The siren itself is not important and is meaningless, it is just a reminder for that period of time of stopping everything, standing, and remembering ("zikaron"). Just like the siren at the start of Shabbat in many places isn't important, but rather what it is telling you is important (that Shabbat is about to start).


  30. Mark - then clearly we see eye to eye, as everything else I do. The only think I do not do is stand in silence at the moment of the siren when in my own living room (outside of that I stand in silence as well)

  31. Rafi - Mark - then clearly we see eye to eye, as everything else I do. The only think I do not do is stand in silence at the moment of the siren when in my own living room (outside of that I stand in silence as well)[space]

    I don't think we agree completely, but it doesn't matter. The most important word in your previous reply was "when". You're one of the good guys.



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