Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Holy Army

One of the common refrains that we often hear is that back in Europe we couldn't protect ourselves but now we have TZAHAL to protect us. How wonderful. After 2,000 years our own army!! Inspiring. Victory At Entebee music, please!

First, I must acknowledge the tremendous mesirus nefesh of the soldiers and for that we all must be eternally grateful. If you see a chayal - kiss him [if you are a guy and he wants to be kissed:-)]. 

But I have a a least two problems with over-excitement:

1] Plenty of people die [and are maimed] despite Tzahal, both soldiers [more than 20 thousand to date] and civilians.

Of course we need and appreciate the army but it is not like now we are invincible and unassailable. Every Jew is a world and every soldier [and civilian] that dies is a world that died - not to mention the anguish caused to the soldier's family and friends.    

2] We are only a nation because of the Torah. There is much corruption and many breaches of the Torah in the army. This is not merely "Charedi" rhetoric. All of the rabbonim in the religious zionist sector [even those on the liberal left] acknowledge this reality. After 2,000 years we have a co-ed army. This was not our dream. 

Case in point - It was in the news that a certain commander was sleeping with one of the female officers under his command [he was suspended]. They maintained that it was not a breach of ethics because it was consensual. Maybe THEY consented but this man's wife and six children certainly were not agreeable [I think he is "dati" - for all that is worth]. Nor was G-d. I am not justifying what he did but what does the army expect when they put male and female soldiers together? That they spend their free time talking philosophy and saying tehillim?  

A powerful lesson from Rabbeinu Yonah on the power of the yetzer hara. One little opening is all he needs. And he makes you forget that it is not worth losing everything in both worlds in exchange for few minutes of pleasure. But this lesson is lost on so many people so often and people continue to ruin their lives for a little bit of intercourse [as this commander did as he lost his job, reputation and marriage]:

So I give my vote for a holy army that fulfills the pasuk of והיה מחניך קדוש and in that zchus we will be zocheh to השם ילחם לכם ואתם תחרישון!!! We should never again hear of a soldier who is wounded or G-d forbid worse, we should always have them in our thoughts and tefillos and we should always remember that the army is a means and not an end. 

The end is the messianic vision of being able to live peacefully in Eretz Yisrael, serving Hashem unemcumbered.