It was good speaking with you and hearing that you are in excellent spirits. Please call home from time to time when you can. And try to fill your free time with Torah learning. We are told that Joshua was reprimanded by the angel in charge of the armies of Israel for neglecting to study Torah during breaks in the battle. We are the Nation of the “Safra and Sefer,’ the Sword and the Book. When we engage in battle, we give 100% to the fight. But whenever we have free time, the obligation to meditate on the Torah day and night returns in full measure. I know, it isn’t easy in your present situation, not knowing when the order to enter Gaza will come, but Torah study is as important as cleaning your rifle and making sure that your machsaniot are all loaded with bullets.
For the meantime, I will try to send you a Torah thought each day. I noticed an abridged “easy reader” copy of ‘Robinson Caruso” in your room, and remembered you saying that you wanted to improve your skills in English, so I’ll write these letters in English, and that way you can learn Torah and improve your English at the same time.
If you have access to a radio, I’m sure you are hearing a lot of talk about the supreme effort of the Israeli Air Force not to injure “innocent civilians.” You already know what I think about that. We are not engaged in a match of badminton. This is war. The Hamas isn’t merely a handful of terrorists. Gaza is a terrorist state. The people living there identify with Hamas and with its constantly vocalized oath to destroy Israel. They “voted” Hamas into power. Hamas and all of the citizens of Gaza seek our annihilation. This is a war of state against state.
But let me remind you of another interesting point. This past year, the government of Syria has slaughtered 50,000 truly innocent civilians. Does the world give a damn? No. Has anyone seriously ordered Assad to stop? No. The world, even the Arab world itself, really doesn’t care that tens of thousands of innocent Arab civilians are being slaughtered in Syria. But when Israel kills a few “innocent” Palestinians bystanders in Gaza who were watching terrorists fire a missile toward your grandparents in Ashkelon, then all of the world in cries out unison, from the U.S. State Department, to the United Nations, and the leaders of Russia, England, and France.
Suddenly filled with compassion for the innocent Arab victims, they all immediately hold emergency press conferences, and warn Israel not to escalate the conflict by daring send in ground troops in Gaza to uproot the terror, lest there be more civilian casualties. What hypocrisy! Are the Arabs in Gaza any different from the Arabs in Syria? Why is the world silent when Assad kills 50,000 innocent civilians, and suddenly aghast in a hysterical uproar when Israel kills a handful of “innocents” who just happened to be hanging around a rocket launcher?
Their double standard is so opaque! So now, my boy, I want to let you in on a secret that I want you to pass on to all the guys in your platoon. What’s the real reason that the Egyptians, and the British, and President Barak Hussein Obama don’t want our troops to go into Gaza and finish the job of erasing this evil incarnate from the world? It isn’t because they suddenly love innocent Arabs, believe me.
The answer lies in the Torah portion we read on Shabbat. Already in Rivka’s womb, Esav was trying to kill Yaacov. As Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai has ruled, the halachah is that Esav hates Yaacov. To further its own interests, America is willing to back us, up to a point. But to let us go all out and destroy Hamas completely, once and for all – “No no no no no!” they shout. Stop! Suddenly they, and everyone else, are worried about “innocent civilians.”
Yes, my precious, son, you are fighting to stop the missile fire on our country and to protect fellow Jews. But, as I have previously written, you are fighting for something much more. You are a soldier in the army of Hashem, fighting against the darkness and evil in the world which seeks to snuff out God’s light. The nations of Esav and Ishmael know who we are. They know that Israel is God’s Chosen Nation, endowed with the Divine task of bringing the truth of God’s Kingship to the world.
They know that the Nation of Israel, in its return to Eretz Yisrael, is not just another country in the Middle East, but the reborn Nation of the Bible which has come to herald a new era of justice and morality in the world. In order to stop this from coming to pass, just like the armies of Pharaoh, Amalek, Greece, and Rome, did in our past, the forces of darkness today, rise up against us in all kinds of alliances and guises, Ishmael and Esav together, some outwardly barbaric like Hamas and its bloodthirsty partners whose only goal for the world is to destroy the Jews; and others who dress in civilized Western garb and speak pompous slogans and empty speeches, mentioning God on their lips but forgetting him in their hearts.
Make no mistake. The Arab world and the Western world are the same Ishmael and Esav of old. The daggers of Ishmael we know only too well. But sometimes the gentlemanly smiles and handshakes of Esav fool us into thinking that he has forgotten his murderous gripe of the past, how we, Yaacov, were awarded the birthright, not him, and how Israel was eternally chosen to be His children, not to conquer the world, but to uplift it by bringing humanity to recognize the one and only true Divine Ideal. But today, we saw it clearly that Esav’s hatred for us still festers in his heart, as one country after another, America, Britain, France, Germany, Russia… all loudly insisted that you and your saintly brothers, soldiers in the army of Hashem, not step one foot in Gaza.
When Israel rises up to eliminate evil from the world, the United Nations of Darkness jump up and scream out no! Stop! Let Hamas live! Not because of their love for innocent civilians as they self-righteously declare. The ongoing slaughter in Syria has exposed that pathetic charade. The reason they want you to stop is because they don’t want the great light of Israel to shine in the world. They don’t want God in the world. They want to continue on with their world domination, with their global exploitation, with their greediness, adultery, and lip service to God. Santa Claus, yes. Christmas songs and sleigh bells, yes. Allah, yes. But the true Kingdom of God which Israel represents, and which we are gradually bringing back to the world with our miraculous rebirth as a proud Jewish Nation in Israel, in glorious fulfillment of Prophecies of old – no longer the disgraced and outcast Jew of the past, but the mighty lion of Judah – in their inner hearts, they rightly sense that this incredible Redemption of the Jewish People in Israel is a sign of their demise, the end of their false religions, immoral cultures, and self-serving creeds.
They know that this is the end, this is the end, this is the end. And this they cannot allow. So they rise up in unison, Ishmael and Esav together, and urgently send envoys and special United Nations delegations to Israel to force us to stop before you and your brave and holy comrades enter Gaza and crush out the terrible cancer and festering evil that is hiding cowardly in mosques, schools, hospitals, family houses, and a labyrinth of underground tunnels that is the closest thing in this world to Hell.
But the God of Israel will not lie. He has decreed that His Kingdom will be established over all of the Earth, and He chosen the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces to do it, to establish true goodness and true justice in the world for all peoples, by wiping out the darkness which seeks with all of its strength to prevent God’s light from shining.
Be strong my son. Keep the faith. Let Shema Yisrael be your battle cry. “Hear O Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is One!”
We love you.
About the Author: Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. His recent movie "Stories of Rebbe Nachman" will be available soon as a DVD.The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.
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