I have put aside my blog post for today to answer the concerns from several of my readers dealing with the subject of our military forces in Israel. The conflict came about from the excellent article from Rabbi Sprecher entitled “INGRATITUDE -The Source of all Sins” Some of my readers completely missed the deep message of the article, since they are offended by the IDF and their unorthodox way of running an Army, which is not according to the Torah. They completely ignored that the Rabbi is talking about how observant Jews, Chareidim, who are in such an Army are being beat up and spat on by other Chareidim Jews who believe it is appalling for them to serve in the Army. The article focuses on the way good Jews are mistreating other good Jews, not on whether the Army is living and being run according to Jewish law. These Chareidim who were drafted into the IDF did not ask to be there, so for our fellow Jews to punish other fellow Jews for a situation they didn’t ask for is what is against Torah.
But let us get Hashem’s opinion on this. We can see in the Torah that during the forty years in the desert we were instructed to have a military force. We faced the situation with Amalek, Sichon and Og and even upon entering Eretz Canaan with the battle of Jericho. Hashem saw that we would have enemies and that we should be prepared to defend ourselves.
But, was that the real reason for having an Army? Or since the entire time for being in the desert and beyond was as it is today to help us perfect ourselves for Tikun Olam and going on to Olam Habah. In other words, this was always to plan even today to help us grow in Torah.
We were not created as robots to just be spoon-fed reality and run with it. We were put on Earth to be tested, to make mistakes, to correct our mistakes and to grow from the experience. But, a very important lesson came from having an Army then and it continues now. When we do Hashem’s will, Hashem fights our battles; when we don’t do it exactly by Torah, we still have Hashem’s help but we also have failures, casualties of war. We saw this many times in Tenach, but it really started in the desert and was especially obvious at Jericho. We were told to circle the city seven times, and sure enough, Hashem destroyed the city without our fighting one battle. Then there was a group of soldiers who went off to the city of Ai and took it upon themselves to fight a battle. Hashem did not tell them to go, so I believe even though Hashem helped them conquer the city, it was with 36 casualties that resulted. What a powerful message. Follow Hashem and be protected or do it your own way and have casualties.
The wars of 1948, 1967, 1972, etc were all learning experiences. The military forces were not so great, in fact non-existent in 1948, yet we still won against mighty Arab armies? I remember classes in military tactics when I was in training for the US Army. When the instructor would ask to review any battle in history, to learn from the tactics, and any Jewish officer would suggest the war for Israeli independence in 1948, the instructor would answer: we don’t teach miracles in the US Army. The IDF is not the tremendous fighting force that everybody thinks it is, but the top General, Hashem is unbeatable and completely in control.
One of the most important lessons in this world from Hashem is that secular methods have to be used to run governments, fight wars, build social systems, build societies, etc. If we only had Torah law being carried out, we would not have free will. The only way to truly learn the idea of goodness is to have evil with which to compare it. In other words, we could not have returned to Israel by the Chareidim being given the land, it had to be secular people with the help of Hashem to get the job done. Even now, there is no way that Israel could have a Chareidi fighting force to protect Israel, nor would Hashem want it.
This upside-down fantasy world has to look random and totally diversified in order to work and especially for us to grow and reach Tikun Olam. To criticize the IDF for not running according to Torah is contrary to Hashem’s plan. Does Hashem need an Army to defend Israel? Absolutely not, but Hashem wants an Army to teach us and cause us to grow; to realize that only trusting Hashem wins wars. Each individual in the Army will measure for measure improve on an individual basis, but it has to be by Jews learning to cope with a non-Torah situation and growing from it.
But, should Jews beat up or spit on other Jews who are putting themselves in jeopardy to protect Israel and Hashem’s people? That is totally against the Torah. Not understanding Hashem’s ways and what is really happening is no excuse for violating the Torah: “we should not stand by the blood of our fellow Jew.” Hashem wants Achdus, unity, in this world. He wants us to learn to work together, to teach each other and to help each other to reach the best Tikun possible. Fighting amongst Jews is totally against Hashem’s will, and we must realize it is not the policy from a necessary secular military that could ever be the excuse. We are on Earth to be tested, not to breeze through with no conflict. We don’t grow and perfect ourselves by not making mistakes and correcting them. That is the system; that is Hashem’s plan and that is the perfection that will bring us to Tikun Olam.
One last fact to mention. I have dealt with military personnel from many countries around the world during my military career. In joint exercises that included many, many countries, and in service schools where is learned with and even taught soldiers from many different countries. By far the most Kosher military in the world is from Israel. It is the most dedicated group of soldiers, since they are constantly defending their own land and even their own families (mine included). I have mentioned that I know several Chareidim neighbors of mine who were drafted into the IDF and were very pleased at how much they try to accommodate a Torah lifestyle. It is possible, but is up to the individual Jew to pass the test that Hashem has put him into. It is not random; it is all from Hashem.
But, there is no doubt that this secular military organization who my readers are concerned are violating Torah commandments, are closer to Hashem than any other military fighting organization in the world. When I compare it to what I saw in the US of Magog Army or the militaries of other countries, the Israeli fighting forces are the most righteous forces in the world.
Remember that there are two types of Jews in the world. There are observant Torah Jews and there are Jews who are not Torah observant YET. All Jews and even all righteous non-Jews in the world will be with Hashem soon, completely following His ways. All we need to do is let Hashem’s perfect plan work. In the end all will be goodness and truth with the wicked gone. Let Hashem carry it through; He knows exactly what He is doing.