web analytics
May 24, 2015 / 6 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Israeli Leaders’ Most Important Mission: Protecting Jewish Lives

Current Israeli leaders contemplate all manner of political and security concessions that are bereft of any backbone.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) American President Barack Obama (C) and Palestinian Arab leader Mahmoud Abbas (R)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (L) American President Barack Obama (C) and Palestinian Arab leader Mahmoud Abbas (R)
Photo Credit: Flash 90

Do current Israeli leaders offer adequate protection for the Jewish lives they are entrusted with? Is their policy direction leading toward greater or lesser security?

We read (Shemot 17:12) that when the Jewish people were attacked by the Amalekites shortly after their departure from Egypt and Moshe raised his hands in supplication to God for victory, his hands were “heavy.”

Rashi comments that “his hands became heavy because he had been lax in the mitzvah [of battling Israel’s foes] and had appointed another one [Yehoshua] in his stead.”

Since Moshe’s old age did not affect his physical strength, we know that wasn’t why his hands grew heavy. But why ascribe it to laziness? Perhaps because he postponed the battle to the following day, or maybe because of the people’s doubting of God’s power when they asked (Shemot 17:6), “Is then God in our midst?”

We can assume that Moshe must have had good reason for appointing Yehoshua to fight this battle, since we know that on other occasions Moshe was ready and willing to lead Israel’s wars from the forefront, as he did, at age 120, in the battle against King Og (Bamidbar 21:34, Devarim 3:2).

So what could his good reason have been? Moshe reasoned that there was a big difference between this battle against Amalek and the war against Og: the latter was miraculous, with God having stated openly that “you shall do unto him as you have done against Sichon; do not fear him.”

The same applied to the splitting of the Red Sea. In such clearly miraculous situations, Moshe reasoned that nothing could stand in the way of victory and that therefore the usual norms for warfare (strong young soldiers) were not necessary and even a 120-year-old man could lead the way.

At the time of the battle against Amalek, however, the Jews had displeased God, so Moshe reckoned that this particular fight had to conform to the usual norms of warfare – relying on young, strong warriors and refusing to rush into battle without adequate preparation (therefore Rashi can’t accept that Moshe was being faulted for postponing the battle by one day).

In Rashi’s final analysis, however, Moshe did err: If the premise is that God had commanded this battle to take place (even though the verse states that Moshe, rather than God, commanded Yehoshua to fight Amalek), Moshe should have led the battle himself, offering a short prayer on the battlefield to secure God’s help, notwithstanding whatever the Jews may have been guilty of.

If God commands, one has to act with alacrity.

On the other hand, the premise might be that Moshe acted on his own based on the strength of simple reasoning: a Jewish leader does not stand idly by while his people are being attacked. That could explain why Moshe reasoned that a battle not commanded by God had to be fought according to normal conventions – conventions that don’t see old men on the battlefield.

But even then, Moshe erred: When the Jewish people have to be protected from their enemies, the battle against those enemies becomes in and of itself the greatest mitzvah and it is as if a Divine command had expressly gone out to fight such a battle.

Along with proceeding according to the tactics of normal warfare, one is also assured of victory associated with fulfilling this great mitzvah (to wit: the Six-Day War). There is therefore a limit to the tactical “calculations” a leader directing this action must make. He has to lead by being there personally, both on the fighting end and the praying end. Thus, Rashi is correct: Moshe was at fault in not being involved personally – so, measure for measure, his hands grew lazy and heavy.

About the Author: Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic is the spiritual leader of Cong. Ahavath Zion (www.ahavathzion.com) in Maplewood, New Jersey. His articles on Jewish philosophy and chassidus have appeared in various publications. Comments from readers can be e-mailed to ylebovic@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Israeli Leaders’ Most Important Mission: Protecting Jewish Lives”

  1. Uzi Kattan says:

    Bibi Netanyahoo is failing miserably in this role to defend Jewish lives. He freed murderous terrorists and did nothing about the rise in Arab violence which only emboldened them. He also does nothing about the rockets from Gaza except to bomb empty buildings. We need a real right wing leader who will deal with and put an end to Arab terror.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Tzipi Hotovely, new Deputy Foreign Minister.
Foreign Minister Hotovely: Tell the World ‘God Gave Israel to the Jews’
Latest Indepth Stories
Harris-052215

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

Shalev and Rabbi Levinger

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

MK Moshe-Feiglin

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Sprecher-052215

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes

Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times

Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program

“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me

Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.

The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.

The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.

“…his neshamah reached out to us to have the zechus of Torah learning to take with him on his final journey.”

The gap isn’t between Israeli and American Jews-it’s between American Jews and the rest of the world

More Articles from Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic
Lebovic-032015

Shidduchim options have grown-the question “Why should I settle for this one?” has become widespread

Rabbi and Rebbetzin Lebovic with Rebbetzin Tova.

Inspired by the Perek Shira pasuk for “small non-kosher animals” we named the bunny “Rebbetzin Tova”

What benefit is a learning experience that leaves kids confused,disillusioned&harms self confidence?

Rosh Hashanah has an obvious connection to God’s Kingship. We constantly refer to Him during the Asseres Yemei Teshuvah as Melech/King. The nusach of the tefillah, referring to Rosh Hashanah as “a remembrance of the first day” (of Creation), implies a certain dimension of divine kingship operating at the time of Creation and replicated every […]

Israel’s leaders contemplate all manner of political and security concessions that are bereft of any backbone.

Israeli leadership doesn’t look to God for help, it gave away Gaza because of political predictions and calculations.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

If you lack emunah, how can you develop it merely because you’re commanded to believe?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/israeli-leaders-most-important-mission-protecting-jewish-lives/2014/06/18/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: