Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Orthodox Judaism's Support for Israeli Warfare

Israeli holocaust against Lebanon compared to "Moses' war against the Midianites"

Rabbi says Israeli warfare will "will bring redemption to the world at large"

Study-and-Warfare Project Seeks Soldiers
by Hillel Fendel

The study-and-sword partnership has gained momentum, but organizers are concerned that many soldiers have not yet signed up for a study partner to pray and study in their merit. Project "Safra VeSayfa" - literally, book and sword, or study and warfare - was formed for the express purpose of linking individual yeshiva students with specific IDF soldiers. The student "adopts" the soldier by studying Torah in his name and praying for his safety. Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook, the Chief Rabbi of Rechovot, as well as the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Horowitz of Har Nof, Jerusalem, have seconded the call for such partnerships.

Rabbi Kook contacted the National Council of Young Israel on this matter, explaining the seriousness and gravity of the situation. He noted the Medrashic teaching that in Moses' war against the Midianites, Moses drafted 1,000 pairs from each tribe. Of each pair, one fought in the war - and one prayed specifically for him. The Torah later teaches that the Israelites did not suffer any losses.

"By connecting the soldier to Torah study and prayer," says Maayan Ohr of Tekoa, founder of Safra VeSayfa, "the yeshiva student lends strength to the soldier on the battlefield, who then transforms this force into defending and saving our homeland." In addition, she says, "We hope to increase the sense of mutual responsibility, build a deeper connection and encourage a spirit of cooperation within our people. Unifying their strengths will bring redemption to the world at large."

For more information on the program, including how it started as a graphics project for a teacher who originally requested "nothing to do with politics or religion," click here.

Maayan says that in light of many requests from Jews around the world to pray for soldiers, it is vital to spread word of the program as far and wide as possible so that more soldiers can sign up. She also emphasizes the importance of signing up Jews from all around the world, "as the time differences will allow people to study and pray on the soldiers' behalf even while here in Israel many are sleeping." Soldiers and students who wish to participate are asked to sign up by email, at "".


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