Why This Shliach Was Holding an Israeli Flag at a Parade

When Tel Aviv shliach, Rabbi Levi Gerlitzky, asked an Israeli parader if he would put on tefillin, the man had one condition. Despite his own reluctance, the shliach agreed so that a Yid would do a mitzvah.

By Anash.org reporter

Every year at the Israel Day parades, Anash and shluchim go out to be mezakeh Yidden with the opportunity to do a mitzvah and lay tefillin. This year, with the ongoing war in Eretz Yisroel, this effort was increased even more.

Rabbi Levi Gerlitzky is a shliach in Tel Aviv’s Tzahala neighborhood, and he set up a tefillin stand at a distance from the parade. When he asked an Israeli parader if he would put on tefillin, the man had one condition: that the rabbi would hold his flag while he said shema.

The shliach was taken aback by the request, knowing the Rebbe’s opposition to the Israeli flag and association with Zionism. In fact, the Rebbe had instructed chassidim to set up the mivtzoim away from the main parade in a manner that they don’t appear to be a part of it.

Yet, the opportunity to enable a Yid to do a mitzvah could not be passed up. Despite being noticeably uncomfortable, the shliach held the flag while the yid put on tefillin and recited shema.

The scene was reminiscent of a similar incident when Rabbi Shlomo Chaim Feldman, Rosh Yeshiva of the Chabad Yeshiva in Kiryat Ata, was seen holding a dog by the leash on an Israeli street to allow it’s owner to put on tefillin.

What a chossid will do to help another Yid!

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  1. Rabbi Avrohom Hersh Cohen agreed not to participate in the Israeli elections – despite the Rebbe’s position how important this is, since it was set as precondition for his giving a Tanya shiur in the Meah Sheorim shule, affiliated with Neturei Karta. They even advertised that this shiur is only for those who don’t participate in the Israeli elections. He later received the Rebbe’s approval for this move.

  2. The Rebbe told them to set up their table at a distance away from the parade to ensure they don’t appear as affiliates/participants. Even though being closer presumably would mean more opportunities for Tefilin. So who says it was the right thing to hold the flag?

  3. i think the article gives a mistaken impression that you are compering holding the Israeli flag to holding a dog. this is unfortunate and should be clarified. while it’s true that some in Chabad have ambivalent feelings about the flag, we also understand the high emotions attached to it, the mesiros nefesh that many jews associate with it, especially in a time of intense war. we as Chabad Chassidim are and should continue to be sensitive to do that,

    1. I recommend you read the letter from the Rebbe Rashab printed in the introduction to Kuntres Umayan, page 46-53.

  4. Can anash.org please share an intelligent and informative article with all the sources etc regarding the Rebbe’s opposition to the Israeli flag?

  5. Rabbi Gerlitzky is offering tefilin to Yidden visiting the cemetery on the remembrance day for fallen soldiers.

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