“Visually, it looks like another huge and impressive funeral of a great rabbi. An endless winding river of tens of thousands of people. However, it is completely different, quite possibly the most monumental from any other funeral we have seen to this day.

Why do Haredim come to the funeral of a great talmudic figurehead? They come because of a strong sense of belonging. They did not personally know the Rabbi [1], but they are part of his tribe and so they are here, in their final farewell to him as his followers.

This time, few people belong to the tribe. Only a few percent of the masses [who attended the funeral] agree with the demonstrations of the ‘Jerusalem Faction’ [2]. The rest, not only disagree [with the ‘Jerusalem Faction’], but are wholeheartedly opposed to its very existence.

So why did they come in the tens of thousands? Only out of deep respect and appreciation for the unique personality and greatness of the late and great Rabbi Auerbach. Not just an organized tribe arrived today in Shaarei Chesed [3], but tens of thousands of individuals, each of whom felt he had to come, to cherish his [Rabbi Auerbach’s] great persona, his dedication to his students, his sensitivity to others, and his kindness.

This is no show of unity, reconciliation, or acceptance of the extremist view. Tomorrow, the Haredi tribe will again be oppositional to the leadership of the Jerusalem Faction.”

– Yedida Meir
0202 Editor’s Notes:

[1] Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach (21.9.1931-24.2.2018) passed away on Saturday. He was the spiritual leader of an ideologically strict minority movement in the Haredi community, known as the ‘Jerusalem faction’. Rabbi Auerbach led the fierce opposition to Haredi soldiers enlisting in the army and cooperating in any way with the authorities. While other Haredi Rabbis oppose enlisting as well, Rabbi Auerbach is known to prohibit even showing up at the recruiting office and declaring oneself as Haredi in order to get an exemption. Under his leadership demonstrations – that in some cases became violent- were carried out protesting any form of Hardedi enlistment in the army. For more posts regarding Rabbi Auerbach’s passing away and funeral see: https://goo.gl/2VAyfR.

[2] The Jerusalem Faction – the name of a minority group in the Haredi community – led by the late Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach (see above). The members of the faction separate themselves from the mainstream Haredi movement in extreme ideology, and in particular, their opposition to any cooperation with the military authorities. The struggle of the faction against the recruitment of Haredim to the Israeli army is sometimes expressed in stormy demonstrations throughout the country.

[3] A small neighborhood in center Jerusalem where Rabbi Auerbach lived and led his followers.

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