These are surreal days and nights in Israel. And Gaza. The war continues. The missiles, sirens,and Iron Dome shootdowns have become daily life for many in Israel. I have ducked from three while passing through Tel Aviv.
The main suffering is borne by the poor masses in Gaza.
Their lives have been ruined by the Amalek-level hatred of Israel by their Hamas overlords. Approximately 1.82 million people are controlled by a regime whose ‘army’ numbers merely 20,000. Most of the fighters and all of their leaders are apparently hiding in safety underground. They are leaving the general population unprotected while shooting from within their midst. The inevitable deaths of the innocent are used for propaganda. And the more the better in the perverse psychology of ultimate evil.
The daily funerals in Israel are heartbreaking.
The Torah invited us to always look deeper to better understand reality.
As the underground horror chamber in Gaza is uncovered, the painful blessing imbedded in the tragic losses of so many innocent lives is becoming clearer. Many more lives would have been lost had Hamas been able to continue their war plans undisturbed.
It is now apparent that for the last decade or so they have been unceasingly building tunnels that reach into Israel.The Hamas terrorists caught by the IDF have divulged that on Rosh HaShana- Sept 24, 2014, scores of terrorist dressed as IDF soldiers were going to emerge from the 16 exit points and enter the adjoining communities and commit massacres and kidnappings. The tunnels include chambers to lock up hostages.
The Torah’s response for this situation is clear.
“הבא להורגך השכם להורגו- If someone is coming to kill you, arise first to kill them.” (Brachot 58:a; Sanhedrin 72:a; Midrash Tanchuma and Rabbah on Pinchas).
In “The Scroll of War and Peace” Rav Kook’s main disciple, Rabbi David Cohen-HaRav HaNazir TZ’L discusses the application of this principle:
“Go out to war against your enemy before they come to your land. This is attack for the sake of defence. This is ‘מלחמת מצוה-a commanded war’…The good that is in this war will become revealed-the total devotion, the self sacrifice for the sake of the nation of Israel and the Land of Israel, for holiness and for the Holy, for the sanctification of the Divine Name!…
This type of war is a commandment and obligation-the obligation of the nation that is arising for its freedom and liberation…
It is an obligation to defend against the murderer that is approaching us-the obligation of defending ourselves, of defending the lives of the threatened people-men, women and children- by using the weapons at hand, using every type of weapon that shields us.
According to the science of war, the best defence is offense. In a war of obligation it is necessary to attack the enemy where they are according to the principle: ‘הבא להורגך השכם להורגו- If some one is coming to kill you, arise first to kill them.’ (Ibid)…While this is said in the singular, the Rabbis taught that it also applies in wars against nations…In fact it is even more so for a nation as David said:
‘וַיֹּאמֶר לְלַמֵּד בְּנֵי יְהוּדָה קָשֶׁת -And he ordered the children of Yehuda to be taught the bow.’ (Shmuel 2-1:18)
From here we learn of the obligation to enlist in the army of Israel that is fighting for its survival and well being. As it says in Tehillim 29:11:
‘ יְהוָה–עֹז, לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן; יְהוָה, יְבָרֵךְ אֶת-עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם. -God gives strength to his people, God blessed his people with peace.’
Strength and power bring the blessing of peace.
A war of liberation is the war of the small nations against the large enslaving nations. It is not only for the protection of the physical body and resources from those that would exploit it. Not only protection from those who rob the weaker, who benefit from their toil and use it for their own pleasure. [freeing the Gazans from their Hamas enslavers]
This is a battle of the spirit, to emerge from slavery to freedom, from bondage to liberation.
This is a commanded war, a holy war.”
It is clear that the battles against the current main enemies of Israel (Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran) are wars of obligation.
It is ironic that Israel- the refuge for the Jewish people to live peacefully, has had to become very skillful militarily to survive this very real threat.
The Nazir discusses this:
“Shalom needs גבורה-strength/heroism.
Armaments, military equipment, learning the tactics of war and educating the youth to bravery in battle are all necessary for shalom. All this is necessary in order to remove the fear and dread of the murderous enemy. ‘Teach the children of Yehuda the bow’. (Ibid)
All the nations are equipping armies and learning war. Some are doing this willingly and others by necessity.
Because of fear and suspicion of each other, they are offering the best of their children to ‘מולך המלחמה-the false god of war.’
The hope and the yearning of the soul within is for the vision of the the end of days.
“וְהָיָה בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים…לֹא-יִשָּׂא גוֹי אֶל-גּוֹי חֶרֶב, וְלֹא-יִלְמְדוּ עוֹד מִלְחָמָה.“
And in the end of days… nation will not lift up sword against nation, and they will no longer learn war.” (Isaiah 2:2,4)
To bring about peace, we will need to be able to militarily defeat those people and nations who are devoted slaves to ‘מולך המלחמה- Molech-the false god of war.’ Molech was a Canaanite false god whose followers practiced propitiatory child sacrifice. Unfortunately much of the world is still enslaved to this same false god.
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