Israel Forever

For the week ending 1 September 2012 / 13 Elul 5772

The Real "Chok Tal"

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

In the days preceding August 1st of this year the nation held its breath in anticipation of what the Israel Knesset was going to do about the issue of drafting yeshiva students into the army or national service.

August 1st was the date when, according to the ruling of Israel's Supreme Court, the legislation in force in recent years would no longer be in effect. This chok (legislation) was known as "Chok Tal" because its chief architect was former Supreme Court Justice Zvi Tal, and it recently came under attack for being too generous to yeshiva students.

Nothing happened on August 1st nor in the weeks afterwards despite the clamor of anti-religious elements to adopt draconian legislation which would even include prison sentences for those who refused to leave the yeshiva.

The halacha states that for one who forgot to mention tal in his Shmone Esrei there is no need to repeat the prayer. This is so because even without our prayer G-d will never withhold the tal (moisture) that is indispensable to human existence. We may add that "Chok Tal" or similar legislation with provisions for undisturbed Torah study is also indispensable to human existence.

It is our prayer that the Knesset will understand this and enable Torah study to continue protecting Eretz Yisrael and the world.

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