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Be Strong, and We Will Be Strengthened

Our soldiers who died sanctifying God’s name merit elevation to the level of holiness of the entire Jewish people, and we will make every effort to be worthy of their sacrifice, and continue in their path * To create deterrence, we must decisively defeat our enemies, as only when the loss is unambiguously undeniable, will they be deterred * Israel must strike its enemies with full force, take territories that were in their possession, and encourage emigration

Thanks to the field soldiers and officers who endanger themselves for our people and our God’s cities, and continue the heroism of Israel’s kedoshim (holy martyrs) throughout the generations: our ancestors in Egypt who did not forget their identity; Joshua and his soldiers who conquered the Land; King David, who established the monarchy, and drove out the Philistines; Chananiah, Mishael and Azariah, who sacrificed themselves to preserve the Jewish faith’s ember in the Babylonian exile; the Hasmoneans who stood for Israel during the Greek decrees, and reestablished Jewish sovereignty over Israel; Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues, who sacrificed themselves for sanctifying God’s name, and Israel’s independence; and all the kedoshim throughout the terrible exile years, who maintained their identity and were prepared to be killed rather than convert during the Crusades, the destruction and expulsion decrees in Spain, the pogroms of 1648-1649, and the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Our soldiers today merit fighting in the name of all Jewish generations for our independence and honor. May it be God’s will that in the merit of the tremendous mitzvah they fulfill, we merit defeating our enemies, settling the Land, absorbing immigration, and realizing the great vision from the days of Avraham Avinu, of establishing a just and moral people, a blessing for all nations.

May the mighty spirit of our soldiers inspire all parts of our nation, including the military, political, and social leadership.

The soldiers who died sanctifying God’s name, are elevated to the level of holiness of Clal Yisrael (the entire Jewish people), and are already denizens of the World to Come. Here, we will make every effort to be worthy of their sacrifice and continue walking in their path, adding life and blessing in their name, and for their souls’ elevation.

Understanding the Muslims’ Language

We are in the midst of a difficult war, which began with a serious failure of the entire security system. Apparently, one of the fundamental problems seems to be that our political, military and academic leadership do not properly understand the Muslims’ language. As part of writing the ‘Peninei Halakha’ series, I am now working on a book about faith and idolatry, including perspectives on different religions. Beyond Islam being a militant religion, far and above all others, it is important to understand the special Muslim attitude toward speech.

The Importance of Language in Islam

Language and speech occupy a place in all cultures and religions, especially in Islam, as the entire world was created through God’s speech, and Islamic wisdom precisely defines Allah’s will through language and law. Hence, the tremendous power of words in Islam, to the extent that the Quran’s truth is proven by the beauty of its language. Likewise, conversion to Islam is done verbally. Marriage or divorce are also actualized through speech alone. Above all, Allah’s word reaches the world through the prophet’s speech, and the prophecy’s inner power stems from proper, eloquent speech which can transform reality when spoken correctly and beautifully.

The Concepts of Lies and Truth in Islam

Consequently, the concepts of lies and truth in Islam differ from the rest of the world. Usually speech reflects reality, and if it does not reflect it, then it is a lie, and reality can be examined to see if one lied, or spoke truth. But in Islam, speech is reality, so one can state what should be as if it already exists, because if the speech itself is correct, reality will be revealed to match the speech. As a result, there is exaggeration of the value of describing reality compared to investigating reality itself, and exaggeration of rhetorical skill, over factual accuracy. Admittedly, lying is forbidden in Islam, but this refers to lying for selfish ends, not serving proper values. However, when lying to portray non-believers (cofrim) as evil, it is not considered a lie, but truth, as it serves the true goal. Even the non-believers, once knowing the truth, would admit this was right to say, as Islam is the truth, and non-believers, are the lie. Thus, Muslims describe lost battles as victories, as that is right, and thereby through proper speech reality will change, and they will ultimately win. This is why Jews see the Muslims’ struggle against Israel as riddled with blatant lies, while for Muslims, they speak the truth, as that is how it should be.

If it is reported an Israeli shell fell near a Gaza hospital, Muslim spokesmen announce to the world that the shell directly hit the hospital, and killed five hundred “innocent” patients. But if it later emerges that it was an errant shell fired by Muslims, then, without any need to apologize, an amended notice issues that the shell fell near the hospital, killing twenty. To many Muslims, both versions were the truth, as speech should reflect the righteousness of Muslims, and evil of their enemies.

How Deterrence is Created

In such a state, it is understood that to create deterrence, we must defeat our enemies far more decisively than usual, for as long as they can exaggerate, deny, lie, and interpret the loss as a victory, so shall they do, and the vast majority of their people will believe them and gain strength to initiate another war as soon as possible. Only when the loss is unambiguously undeniable by any lie or exaggeration, will they be deterred.

To do so, we must strike them with full force, transfer territories that were in their hands to ours, and encourage emigration.

Are Muslims Obligated to Honor Agreements?

Regarding the concepts of truth and lies, to many outsiders viewing Islam, familiar with their tendency for exaggeration and permitting lies to justify Muslims, it appears that according to Islam, it is permitted to lie in agreements with non-believers in order to defeat the enemy (Treaties of ‘Al-Hudaybiyyah’, ‘Taqiyya’). However, the truth seems more complex. According to Islamic sages, agreements must be honored, and only if the other party violates their part, may Muslims breach it. Admittedly, in order to defeat the enemy, it is permitted, and even desirable, to deceive them through sophisticated speech and doublespeak, and the enemy, unaccustomed to the multitude of meanings in their speech, thinks they are committed, while they, for their part, did not really lie in the agreement they signed; but had the enemy delved deeply, he would have understood they did not commit to what he thought.

They Did Not Agree to Recognize Israel as the Jewish State

In practice, the Muslims did not specifically trick us in agreements they signed with us. We tricked ourselves into thinking they recognize the State of Israel. In all agreements signed with us, no Muslim, including those not considered religiously devout, has yet agreed to recognize the State of Israel as the Jewish state. After all, according to Islam, it is forbidden to recognize non-Muslim rule over land previously conquered by Islam. Egypt signed a peace agreement with us, contingent upon solving the Palestinian problem. And any Muslim (as well as anyone familiar with the language of religion and law) understands this to mean that all Arabs claiming to have been expelled in the 1948 war will return to their places, and the State of Israel will cease being a Jewish state, and become Muslim. Similarly, in all agreements with the PLO and Palestinian Authority, they never agreed to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Admittedly, they do not volunteer exposing the deception, and claim that defining Israel as a Jewish state is Israel’s internal affair, and therefore, they do not relate to it. But one familiar with their religion, understands that they did not agree to recognize the right of Jews to be sovereign in the Land of Israel, as such recognition contradicts their religious duty to be loyal to Allah, even at the cost of their lives. Thus, one also understands that they are certain that one day the agreement will be violated, and they will destroy the State of Israel.

To defeat them requires understanding their language and the tremendous power it grants them, both in the educational and propaganda war they wage against us, and in understanding their religion and the meaning of the formulations they use during negotiations (as an example of the problem, see in the latest issue of the ‘Besheva’ newspaper, the tough questions MK Amit Halevi asked representatives of the education and justice systems, why they allow teachers supporting terror to serve as teachers in the Israeli education system, and the appalling answers).

Why Do You Cry Out To Me – Speak to the Children of Israel and Journey Onward

In this week’s Torah portion (‘Beshalach’), we learn that sometimes prayer must be shortened in order to take action. When the Egyptians chased after Israel and caught up to them encamped at the sea, and the people were very frightened, Moses stood and strengthened the nation’s faith, and began to passionately pray. “The Lord said to Moses: Why do you cry out to Me – speak to the children and journey onward” (Exodus 14:15).

Similarly, when a wounded person needs to be taken to a hospital, one should not delay in prayer, rather, hurry as much as possible to bring him to the hospital, and while driving, one can whisper a prayer that does not delay the treatment of the patient.

As is the case when going to battle with the enemy, soldiers say a short prayer before the battle, but do not delay, because the main thing is to fulfill the enormous mitzvah to save Israel from its enemies, and to settle the Land, so it will be in the hands of Israel, and not in the hands of another nation.

The more one understands the value of the mitzvah, the more value there is to the prayer that accompanies the mitzvah. On the other hand, to the extent that one denies the greatest mitzvah from the Torah that our soldiers fulfill, and think that the main thing is to shout to God, the prayer is considered an abomination, as is written: “He who turns a deaf ear to Torah instruction—his prayer is also an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9).

Similar to this, it is told in the Gemara (Shabbat 10a) about Rabbi Jeremiah who sat and studied with Rabbi Zeira. When it was time for prayer, Rabbi Jeremiah hurried to get up from studying, and to pray. Rabbi Zeira saw this as a violation of the honor of Torah study, and reprimanded him: “He who removes his ear from hearing the Torah, his prayer is also an abomination”, since the Torah deals with eternal life, whereas prayer deals with the present, and one should not rush to leave Torah, for the sake of prayer. However, Rabbi Jeremiah opined that “there is a separate time for prayer, and a separate time for Torah”, meaning, that there is a specific time for prayer, and when its time arrives, it should not be seen that rushing to pray is a violation of the Torah. Although by all accounts, when one has to engage in Torah, or do an act according to the mitzvah of the Torah, one should focus on the Torah and the mitzvah, and not on prayer.

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper and was translated

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