Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The Rebbe spoke during the war in Lebanon about the duty of the leaders in Israel to stand firm in the face of terrorist attacks, to strike the enemy with strength and not to show weakness.

This, in part, is what the Rebbe said then:


“Eretz Yisrael is currently engaged in Operation ‘Peace for the Galilee.’ As its name indicates, the purpose of this operation is to assure peace for the Jews in Galilee by removing the terrorists, who, entrenched in Lebanon, have been menacing the entire region. The operation has been highly successful, with G-d once again showing open miracles. The Israel Defense Forces have been victorious far beyond expectation, and the operation has proceeded with stunning rapidity – actions that were expected to take two days were executed in one day or less. Individual soldiers have related the miracles they have witnessed, and all agree that “the hand of G-d has done this.”

“Yet, not all have been able to measure up to the occasion. The avowed intention of this campaign was the complete eradication of the terrorist menace. But some political ‘leaders,’ employing the most irrational of reasoning have protested, insisting that the campaign be halted and not brought to its necessary conclusion. Unfortunately, their influence succeeded in obstructing the progress of the operation; and therefore, the campaign has not, as yet, completely fulfilled its goal.


The Golus Mentality

“Some Jews are possessed by fear of gentile reaction, the age-old fear of ‘what will the non-Jew say.’ A ‘golus mentality’ has become integrated into their very character, and embedded within them is the belief that a Jew must always cringe and cower before non-Jews, and always, always, take their opinion into account.

“The source for this mentality? When a Jew loses his own self-respect, when he no longer knows how a Jew thinks, speaks or acts, he adopts non-Jewish attitudes. When a Jew no longer knows what it means to truly fear G-d, he becomes subservient to the ‘strange god that is within you.’ That ‘strange god’ is the antithesis of the true Jewish attitude of submission to G-d’s will. The supreme criterion of conduct is no longer G-d’s Torah, the halacha; but rather how the non-Jewish world expects him to act.

“We have tasted the fruits of such an attitude, and they have been bitter indeed. Let us make sure that this time the error is not repeated. It is imperative that all Jews be able to live safely in all parts of Eretz Yisrael – in the north and in the south, in the east and in the west. No other considerations can be taken into account. In matters of security, the opinion of the military must prevail, for they are the experts, and they are of the unanimous opinion that Operation ‘Peace for the Galilee’ must be fully completed. Since this is the consensus of military opinion, it becomes the halacha – and must be fully adhered to.

“In addition, only the full completion of this undertaking can justify the casualties which have occurred. Every Jew is a ‘complete world,’ and every soldier killed is an incalculable loss. The purpose of this campaign was to assure the wellbeing of Jews living in Eretz Yisrael. If this goal is not attained, the casualties incurred will have been in vain. To stop now, and let the situation revert to its previous state, is tantamount to letting those Jewish deaths be in vain. Only the full realization of the operation’s avowed aim will justify the deaths and injuries. And it is only by completing the operation that future casualties will be prevented.”

These are the words of the Rebbe during the war in Lebanon. These words are as vital and fresh as if they were said today.


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Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman is director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. He can be reached at [email protected].