Rachel Imenu (Our foremother Rachel) in the Gaza War Against Hamas

[Q&A from Rav Aviner's video blog]

Question: Rumors have spread about a woman presenting herself as our foremother Rachel appearing to Tzahal soldiers and warning them of explosives, booby-trapped houses and terrorist ambushes within the Gaza Strip during the war. Is this true?
Answer: In truth, Rachel Imenu was certainly with us during our long Exile as the Maharal explained in his book "Netzach Yisrael" (end of chap. 1 and beginning of chap. 34). He wrote that Rachel is the power that sustained the Nation of Israel during the course of the Exile and returned us to our Land as it says: "Withhold your voice from crying…and your children will return to their border" (Yirmiyahu 31:15-16). And Rashi explained at the beginning of Parashat Va-Yechi (Bereshit 48:7): Why wasn't Rachel buried in the Cave of Machpelah or even in Beit Lechem, but by the side of the road? In order for her to protect the Nation of Israel while we were on the way. This is the inner power which binds the Nation together. After all, it is a miracle and wonder that we were able to remain steadfast for two thousand years in the Exile. We were a lamb among seventy wolves and we are now returning to our Land. But regarding the idea that Rachel personally revealed herself to this person or that person, on such matters it is said: "A fool will believe anything." There are two types of extremism: one type of extremism is to deny miracles, and another type of extremism is to believe that when someone tells you about a miracle that there really was one. We need to check. It is possible that they may have been imagining. Sometimes a person imagines things, even a sane person. Sometimes one is under pressure, tired, hungry, and thinks he sees something that isn't there, and later fosters it in his memory. This is called FMS – false memory syndrome. It may have been a non-Jewish woman. There are also good Arab women – not all of them are, but there are some. And maybe someone dreamed up this idea to strengthen faith, and to say: "You see? There are people that go to war and there are people that don't go to war but they pray, and Rachel came to save us on account of their merit." Therefore, we need proof for such matters. There were soldiers who fell in battle and Rachel was not there. There were also soldiers who won battles due to their great dedication and wisdom and courageousness to fight, and Rachel was not there. This means that Rachel was not there in the image of a woman guiding them and telling them go this way or that way, shoot here or shoot there. But Rachel was certainly there in the sense in which we explained: the inner power which sustains the Nation of Israel and returns us to our Land.
See www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3659308,00.html for a news story about Rav Aviner's answer and that Ha-Gaon Ha-Rav Mordechai Eliyahu prayed for Rachel Imenu to help. Rav Aviner gave this answer before this story has spread about Rav Eliyahu.