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.Tzvi Fishman
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" The DVD of the movie is available online.The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.
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