It was this phenomenal level of self-sacrifice, this mesiras nefesh, that achieved the victory of 1948 as Jews like my father fought off the Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese and Iraqi armies. It was a mesiras nefesh that resulted in a flourishing state whose yeshivas, hospitals and charities are so great in number as to be unprecedented in Jewish history.

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Avi Schwartz is a musmach of MTJ. A rabbi, filmmaker, writer and speaker, he is a co-founder of Shomrei HaAm (Guardians of the Nation), an innovative kiruv organization, and Torah Entertainment Productions, a Torah film production company. An earlier op-ed on his father's experiences in the Palmach appeared in the Feb. 5 issue of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at mschw136@aol.com.