The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs
The Wars of Israel
By: Rav Yechezkel Yakovson
A Dvar Torah from Rav Yechezkel Yakobson, Rosh Yeshivat Sha'alvim.
"And the Canaanite heard...and he fought with the Jewish Nation and took capture. And the Jewish People vowed to Hashem saying 'if You deliver this nation into my hand then I will decimate their cities' " (Bamidbar 21:1,2). Chazal coment that the Canaanites captured only one handmaiden of Canaanite origin (shifcha cana'anit).
What do Chazal intend to convey in this Midrash?
Various factors generate warfare. Security issues, urges to conquer and dominate, economic concerns, desire to punish and avenge etc'. In this instance not one of those factors applied. In conventional criterions, capturing one handmaiden does not constitute a reason to go to war.
However, wars involving the Jewish People-are the wars of Hashem! When the Jewish People are wounded, a desecration of The Name (Chillul Hashem) results. A slighting of the honor of the Jewish People constitutes a slighting of the honor of Hashem.
Not for naught did Chazal connect the death of Aharon and the removal of the clouds of glory (ananei kavod) with the subsequent battle with
History is replete with examples that a lack of response to even small diversions from the norm is followed by severe repercussions in national security. Deterrence must be maintained. As always, in the Jewish people spiritual and material issues are intertwined and complement each other. May we merit the salvation of the Jewish People speedily in our times!
2: Parshat Shavua > Chukat
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