[Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah – Tazria 5774 – translated by R. Blumberg]
May He who blessed our ancestors, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov: They were our ancestors and we follow in their path. They were holy, and, simultaneously, they were fighters. Avraham fought against the four kings, and Yaakov fought “with his sword and bow” (Bereshit 48:22, regarding the battle for Shechem).
The same goes for Moshe and Yehoshua Bin Nun, Otniel ben Kenaz and King David. They were not just soldiers from the ranks, but army generals. When a war is imperative to our survival, it is a war of G-d (Orot 14).
Also bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces: For they are performing a great Mitzvah, a three-fold Mitzvah of the Torah incorporating: 1. Defense of the Nation. 2. Defense of the Land. 3. The sanctification of G-d's Name. When we are being beaten and murdered, robbed and raped, it is a desecration of G-d's name. And when we fiercely respond to our enemies it is a sanctification of G-d's name (Rabbenu Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Le-Nitivot Yisrael 1:118). Essentially, when a
person does a Mitzvah he declares G-d's oneness, and when he does so, G-d causes holiness and even blessing to envelop that person. When Yaakov was preparing for war with Esav, he traversed the “Yabok Crossing” (Bereshit 32:23). Yabok stands for Yichud [declaring oneness], Berachah [blessing] and Kedushah [holiness].
The Israel Defense Forces: The I.D.F. is not an occupation force. Our intent is not to plunder foreign lands, but to defend our own Nation and Land. We are an army of defense. That is our essence. Ours is a Milchemet Mitzvah according to all opinions, a moral, compulsory war.
Who stand guard over our land: How fortunate we are that through G-d's grace we received our Land, but we must protect it day and night, and not fall asleep while at watch. Rashi comments on the words, “May your doorbolts be iron and copper” (Devarim 33:25), “This refers to the entire Jewish People, whose warriors would sit in the border towns closing them off from enemy attack, as though those towns were locked with iron and brass locks and bolts.” Sure enough, we have 350 million enemies all around us, and they are assisted by some billion Moslems and some billion Christians, plus several more million Arabs helping them from within. The Guardian of Israel, and His faithful emissaries, will neither rest nor sleep.
And over the cities of our G-d: This Land is the Land of G-d. It is the holy Land. It is the Land of holiness. It is “the Land which G-d keeps His eyes on from the start of the year to the end of the year” (Devarim 11:12). It is the Land in which G-d is returning His Divine presence to Tzion. Every people sacrifices its life for its Land, all the more so we for our holy Land.
From Lebanon to the Egyptian Desert, and from the Great Sea to the wilderness: We are commanded regarding this entire Land not to abandon any part of it to any other nation (Ramban's Addendum 4 to Rambam's Sefer Ha-Mitzvot).
Wherever they are, on the land on the sea or in the air: This is a holy army. This is a beloved army. This is an army full of love for Israel, one which sacrifices its life for the sake of Israel. This is an army full of friendship and camaraderie and unity. This is an army in which every soldier is infused with a new spirit, a spirit of self-abnegation for the sake of the Jewish People. This is an army in which it is both a supreme duty and a lofty privilege to participate.
G-d will leave our enemies who rise up against us smitten before them: Our enemies are the enemies of G-d. “When the ark was to set out, Moshs would say, ‘Advance, Hashem! May Your enemies be scattered, and may Your foes flee before You!” (Bamidbar 10:35).
Your enemies: “These are the enemies of Israel, for whoever hates Israel hates the One whose word brought the world into being” (Rashi).