Friday, November 16, 2012

Israel's mandatory wars

Milḥemet Miṣva (war by commandment or a mandatory war)  refers to the wars to conquer the land of Israel in the times of Yehoshua' bin Nun; the war against 'amaleq and any war that the Jewish people wages in self defense (see MT melakhim, 5:1), i.e., when lives are threatened and vital national interests are at risk. 

The Tora indicates that first, we have to offer peace to the enemies (Deut. 20:10). If they do not accept the offer of peace, then Israel should go to war to defend itself.  For this type of war, the King (=Executive power) was not required to ask for the approval of the Sanhedrin (=Legislative power). Milḥemet Miṣva is launched at the discretion of the King. 

One of the first Miṣvot for the fighters and soldiers who go into these wars is not to fear. In the words of Maimonides (MT,melakhim 7:15) "Once the man [the Jewish soldier] begins his engagement in war, he should rely on the Hope of Israel [=God] Who will rescue him in times of trouble. He needs to know that he is waging this war for the the sanctification of His name (Yiḥud Hashem). He should entrust his life in His hand, and he should not fear; not be scared.... And when a Jewish soldier fights with all his heart, without fear, and with the sole intention of sanctifying the name of God, he will be protected from harm, and nothing bad will happen to him, and he will [have the merit to] establish a solid family in Israel, and his merit will be for him, and his descendants for ever"   

In these days, the soldiers of the IDF are fighting a Milhemet Misva, a war to protect the lives of the citizens of the south of Israel.

They have unlimited courage, the highest morale and they rely on the Almighty, the Protector and Shield of Israel, to save them from harm and bring victory to Am Israel, by their hands. 

May the Almighty protect them and all the citizens of Israel.

Shabbat Shalom!   
Candle lighting in NYC:  4:17 p.m.
Shabbat ends in NYC:    5:25 p.m.

מי שברך לחיילי צה"ל
מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ, אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב, הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, הָעוֹמְדִים עַל מִשְׁמַר אַרְצֵֽנוּ וְעָרֵי אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מִגְּבוּל הַלְּבָנוֹן וְעַד מִדְבַּר מִצְרַֽיִם, וּמִן הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל עַד לְבוֹא הָעֲרָבָה, בַּיַּבָּשָׁה, בָּאֲוִיר וּבַיָּם. יִתֵּן יְיָ אֶת אוֹיְבֵֽינוּ הַקָּמִים עָלֵֽינוּ נִגָּפִים לִפְנֵיהֶם. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִשְׁמוֹר וְיַצִּיל אֶת חַיָּלֵינוּ מִכָּל צָרָה וְצוּקָה וּמִכָּל נֶֽגַע וּמַחֲלָה, וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם. יַדְבֵּר שׂוֹנְאֵֽינוּ תַּחְתֵּיהֶם, וִיעַטְּרֵם בְּכֶֽתֶר יְשׁוּעָה וּבַעֲטֶֽרֶת נִצָּחוֹן, וִיקֻיַּם בָּהֶם הַכָּתוּב: כִּי יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הַהוֹלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם, לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם עִם אוֹיְבֵיכֶם לְהוֹשִֽׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.