Divrei Torah

The Divrei Torah in this section have been translated by Rav Reuven Ungar, Director of Alumni Affairs

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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 Canaan. The glory must be returned. An infringement in the honor of Hashem and of His People demands a swift response and harsh response. Practical considerations- "is it worth it to fight for the sake of one handmaiden?"- are irrelevant.  Recognition of the fact that the war was waged concerning the honor of Hashem determined that the spoils of war were not to be enjoyed.  

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! 


Categorized under: 1: Miscellaneous > General
2: Parshat Shavua > Chukat
Uploaded: 6/26/2006 10:20:06 PM