One of the major problems in the Chareidi community is that, hand in hand with the recent trend in semi-deification of their "Gedolim" has come unprecedented power in the hands of the askanim who form an inner circle around each of these rabbonim. For years now it has become very clear that these askanim are driving the Chareidi leadership's agenda in various areas and presenting their own views above rubber stamped "Gadol" signatures. From the Slifkin ban to the Shmeltzer ban and so on, it's fairly obvious that the Chareidi leaders are either being misinformed by their askanim or being grossly misrepresented. No less an authority than Rav Eliashiv has said that anything said in his name can be safely ignored unless actually heard from him personally. On the other hand, Rav Kanievsky has stated that he'll sign anything his colleagues sign, even if he has no idea what the issue's about.
And now, as if no further proof were needed, comes the latest kol koreh from "the Gedolim"(TM).
Ultra-Orthodox leaders are calling on the religious public not to volunteer in Magen David Adom, claiming that serving in the rescue organization leads to serious religious prohibitions and leads to spiritual danger.
The sector's newspapers published an ad signed by senior haredi leaders, including leader of the Lithuanian faction Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv, Rabbis Nissim Karelitz, Chaim Kanievsky, Aharon Leib Shteinman, the Sanz and Erlau Rebbes and others
This is clearly a difficult situation. Magen David Adom is an amazing and important organization, which goes without saying. Here are people who live the Jewish ethic of loving life, providing pikuach nefesh services every day of the year. Can there be any more valuable work that what these honourable men and women do? Can anyone even guess at the reward they are earning in Heaven for the efforts they make in this world? How could any Rav criticize such a group of people and forbid his followers to assist in their endeavours?
Read the article carefully and once again the usual clues come out. The self-righteous language, the concern about the spiritual "purity" of the Chareidi communty and the fact that the announcement came not directly from the mouths of the "Gedolim" listed but in a signed declaration. This is definitely the work of the chasidei Shoteh, the askanim that are running the affairs of their leaders.
All this forces one to make a difficult decision: either to criticize the "Gedolim" for attacking the efforts of Magen David Adom or to conclude that their words can now and in the future be safely ignored unless head personally.