Our 22-year old son has been re-stationed with his Golani brigade to a makeshift base at the outskirts of Gaza. I am very proud that he has the chance to uphold the honor of Hashem and Israel, and I know he is proud too. In my mind, there is no greater, holier, and transcendental mitzvah than fighting in the Israel Defense Forces, in defense of the Nation of Israel, to wipe out the enemies of Hashem.
The soldiers who are willing to put their lives on the line for Am Yisrael are the true heroes of holiness, just like our holy heroes of our past, Avraham in his war to save Lot; Moshe Rabainu in his wars against kings who rose up against us on our way to the Promised Land; Yehoshua Ben Nun in his conquest of the Eretz Yisrael; and others like King David and the Maccabees, all of whom will be fighting alongside our soldiers when the order comes to enter Gaza and annihilate Hamas. When the occasion demanded, these holy heroes all closed their Gemaras and strode off to war, just as the Torah commands, for the honor of Hashem and Israel.
What do you say to your son as he waits on the outskirts of Gaza? This is the SMS message that I sent him:
Dear Precious Son,
Your mother and I, as well as your brothers and sister, are all very proud of you, and proud of all your friends who are with you, and proud of all the IDF soldiers who are prepared to fight and destroy the enemies of Hashem. Just as our hearts are with you, the whole country is with you. You are acting on our behalf. I wish I could be there with you.
I know you probably didn’t have time to pack any books to take with you when orders came to head south, so I am sending you a little something from the Rambam, which I am certain you know, but which is always good to read over again. May these words of Torah protect you and your comrades, and lead the forces of Israel to a swift and decisive victory over our enemies, with the hope that you will have the green light to finish the job until the very last terrorist in Gaza is destroyed. And if you receive orders that don’t seem right to you, orders that endanger you and your fellow soldiers, lest “innocent” civilians be hurt – don’t listen to them, but do whatever you have to do to protect yourself and your friends over every other consideration, for there are no innocent civilians in Gaza, and the laws of the Torah, and the laws of guarding Jewish life, override the “what will the goyim say?” considerations of man.
In the Laws of Milchemah, The Rambam writes:
“A man should not think at the time of war his wife, nor of his children, nor of his possessions, but he must free his heart of everything and set himself to the battle. And more – he should think that the entire existence of Israel depends on him… For everyone who fights with all of his heart, and with the intention to sanctify the Name of Hashem, is promised that he will not be harmed… and he will merit the Life of the World to Come.”
Therefore, my precious son – be not afraid. Put your trust in Hashem, for you are bringing honor to Him and His Nation. We love you and will see you soon at home, when the enemies of Israel have been crushed.Tzvi Fishman