Don’t Hurt Tzahal

[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Balak 5772 – translated by R. Blumberg]

How fortunate we are to have risen to rebirth and to have an army! In the past we were in the exile, a single lamb amongst seventy wolves, with the nations relentlessly attacking us. Now, thank G-d, we can defend ourselves.

Thank G-d, we’ve got an army.

It is forbidden for us to hurt that army. Quite the contrary, we have to strengthen it every way possible. We have to exemplify self-sacrifice. This includes self-sacrifice in the army itself. The army is built on that trait. Soldiers sacrifice their lives. There is also the self-sacrifice involved in going to the army – something that isn’t easy for everyone, both because of the physical effort required, and because the army doesn’t always operate in accordance with the thoughts and opinions of every individual (it being the army of the entire Nation). In our Nation, there are things that don’t always operate as each person might wish. Yet that is no reason to boycott it. If the army does not behave the way I want as far as expulsion from Jewish towns, or as far as women singing, that’s no reason to be angry at it, for the result of that will be our Nation’s destruction.

We mustn’t forget that surrounding us are three hundred million Arabs who want to annihilate us, and they have another one or two billion helpers. It’s a matter of life and death. Even in our midst, some of the Arabs are our enemies. We mustn’t forget that the Tzahal constitutions the Nation’s salvation.

It also constitutes the salvation of the Land: the return to Zion, the rebuilding of the Land, the establishment of the State, and the Nation’s rebirth in its Land.

Tzahal also constitutes salvation through the Nation’s sanctifying G-d’s Name.

When we are smitten by the nations it is a profanation of G-d’s Name, and when we are strong it is a sanctification of G-d’s Name.

Therefore, we’ve got to leave the army out of the arguments within the Nation. The army is a place where we unite for the sake of saving the Nation and the Land, and for the sake of sanctifying G-d’s Name. Within the Nation there are arguments, and as far as that too we have to be brave and increase our love and brotherhood, peace and friendship. Yet the army must remain outside of the controversies.

In the army we must remain totally united. We mustn’t use it as a punching bag to advance our own agendas and our own cultural and nationalist ideals. Our lives are in danger, and when a person’s life is in danger, it’s not the time to check how religious his physician is.

We should just be happy that he rescues us.

Of course, we can try to improve the army’s spiritual level. Everyone should try to make the army suit his own outlook. That’s natural. Yet it should all be done out of love and brotherhood, peace and friendship, and not with threats, saying, “Either the army is my cup of tea or I’m boycotting it!”

Rather, first and foremost, everyone should enlist in the army – religious, secular, Charedim, Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Ethiopians, Yemenites, right-wingers and left-wingers. Everyone should go. Afterwards, if problems arise, we’ll solve them: with love and brotherhood, peace and friendship.