Senior Lithuanian Orthodox rabbis have responded to the recent escalation
in southern Israel,
calling on the public to engage in Torah studies.
The religious leaders share the same opinion on the reason for the events: The drop in Torah studies during the "Bein Hazmanim" period – the summer vacation in Orthodox yeshivot which began on Tisha B'Av.
After hearing about the terror offensive
near Eilat, the ongoing rocket attacks on southern Israel and the death of nine Israelis since Thursday, Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, head of the Ponevezh Yeshiva, said that "we are being struck by these disasters because of our sins. We lack the privilege of the Torah, which defends and saves us."
A synagogue in a haredi neighborhood in Ashdod was hit by a rocket Friday.
Rabbi Edelstein called on his yeshiva students to increase their Torah studies and pray for the people of Israel.
"The lack of Torah studies among yeshiva students is especially felt on these days, the period of 'Bein Hazmanim'. We, the children of the Torah, who do not pick the tools of war, are each committed to increase our Torah studies, and will be protected by God as a result."
Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, one of the most prominent Lithuanian Orthodox leaders, said in response to the recent events that "the 'Bein Hazmanim' days are a dangerous period as people don't study Torah. Torah studies will lead to a calmer situation."
According to the rabbi's associates, before "Bein Hazmanim" Shteinman said that "we must pray that no disasters take place during 'Bein Hazmanim,'" adding that he feared "dangers may come" due to the lack of Torah studies throughout this period.