Saturday, September 03, 2011

Guest Post: Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself- Parshas Shoftim

Mota'ei Shabbath Qodesh Parashath Shofetim 5771

by The Kalashnokover Rebbe

I'm sure by now everyone has heard about the latest terror attack in Tel Aviv. An Arab Terrorist from Schem (somehow got past our multi-billion dollar impenetrable "security wall") carjacked a taxi at knife point, proceeded to drive to a nightclub, ram a Border Police checkpoint, and then still manage to get out of the car and stab several Border Policemen and a security guard, injuring several seriously, before being "subdued". Not only was this terrorist not killed, he was barely even injured in the "struggle" proceeding his arrest and to add insult to injury, he was taken to the SAME hospital as his victims to receive treatment courtesy of the State of Israel.

I don't know what disturbs me more, the fact that there was yet another terror attack by our otherwise peace loving cousins and that several innocent Jews were nearly killed, or that the police were completely impotent to stop it, allowing the terrorist to continue his rampage well after it was clear what was going on. In fact, not a SINGLE shot was fired and the terrorist was barely scratched.

We know that nothing is a coincidence and as the Alter Rebbe taught us, we must "live with the times". It didn't take me long to find a "remez" (hint) in this weeks parsha to this most unfortunate incident.

In Devarim 20 we see the following exchange between the High Preist and the Israeli Army (note NOT "defense force"):

1. When you go out to war against your enemies, and you see horse and chariot, a people more numerous than you, you shall not be afraid of them, for the Lord, your God is with you Who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. And it will be, when you approach the battle, that the kohen shall come near, and speak to the people. 3. And he shall say to them, "Hear, O Israel, today you are approaching the battle against your enemies. Let your hearts not be faint; you shall not be afraid, and you shall not be alarmed, and you shall not be terrified because of them. 4. For the Lord, your God, is the One Who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you... 8. And the officers shall continue to speak to the people and say, "What man is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his house, that he should not cause the heart of his brothers to melt, as his heart."

The Rambam has the following to say on the matter in Mishne Torah, Hilchos Melachim Chapter 7:

To whom does the phrase 'Is there a man who is afraid or faint-hearted?' refer? The phrase should be interpreted simply, as applying to a person whose heart is not brave enough to stand in the throes of battle.

Once a soldier enters the throes of battle, he should rely on the Hope of Israel and their Savior in times of need. He should realize that he is fighting for the sake of the oneness of God's Name. Therefore, he should place his soul in his hand and not show fright or fear.

He should not worry about his wife or children. On the contrary, he should wipe their memory from his heart, removing all thoughts from his mind except the war.

Anyone who begins to feel anxious and worry in the midst of battle to the point where he frightens himself violates a negative commandment, as it is written (Deuteronomy 20:3): 'Do not be faint-hearted. Do not be afraid. Do not panic and do not break ranks before them.'

Furthermore, he is responsible for the blood of the entire Jewish nation. If he is not valiant, if he does not wage war with all his heart and soul, it is considered as if he shed the blood of the entire people, as ibid. 20:8 states: 'Let him go home, lest he demoralize the hearts of his brethren like his own.' Similarly, the prophetic tradition explicitly states: 'Cursed be he who does God's work deceitfully. Cursed be he who withholds his sword from blood.' (Jeremiah 48:10)

Powerful words from the Rambam! Not only is a soldier who hesitates even for a second in the midst of battle, in violation of a Biblical Commandment, it is as if he has shed the blood of the ENTIRE PEOPLE (and certainly that of his fellow soldiers). Such a person has no place in the Army of Israel (note again, NOT "defense force") and such soldiers risk demoralizing the entire army resulting in innocent blood being shed. The Torah tells us that it is better for everyone, if such people "return home" and not interfere with those who ARE willing to do what is necessary to wage war without fear or hesitation. If this is true of the individual, how much more so the collective political and military leadership who are responsible for demoralizing the hearts of our soldiers, and continuously withholding their swords from blood?

Except today, it is unfortunately not fear of the enemy that we need to be concerned with. Nor is it the individual soldiers that are afraid. I do not doubt for a second the commitment and bravery of the average Israeli soldier to even give his life, if necessary, in defense of his people, or his willingness to do whatever it takes to keep Israel safe (and maybe a little bit more for good measure). Today, we have a much much greater problem, and far more sinister enemy. The enemy from within!

As "Ketzele" so aptly said in response to the incident:

"The fear of Supreme Court President Beinisch has fallen upon the soldiers and policemen of Israel," MK Katz said.

"The behavior of the State Attorney's Office and the legal system lately against security guards, policemen, soldiers and officers who staunchly defended the Nation of Israel – and were rewarded by being sent to jail – weakens the security forces," he explained.

"Fear and trembling seize them and in any confrontation between an Arab terrorist murderer and dozens of policemen, soldiers and guards, our men bleed with serious injuries and the Arab murderer emerges unscathed, and is already preparing for his release in the next release deal, so that he can plan the next massacre."

The policy of the State Attorney and legal establishment needs to change, MK Katz said, as the current policy causes a lack of deterrence. "The Arab terrorist murderers know that nothing will happen to them [if they attack] and that they will be able to go back and murder again shortly afterward."

This is what we have been reduced to, a nation paralyzed with fear. But it is not a fear of horses and chariots, but courtrooms and judges. Not of guns and bombs, but prisons and lawsuits. Because of the Sodomite Legal System in Israel, and their sick twisted morality, heroes are punished for having the audacity to attempting to perform the greatest mitzvah of all, saving Jewish lives. How can we expect our police and soldiers NOT to hesitate, or as we see in this case refrain from shooting at all, out of fear of reprisal from their OWN government? How can we expect soldiers who are brainwashed and force fed nonsense about "purity of arms" from day ONE of their army service NOT to value the lives of the enemy over that of their own people? How can we expect brave volunteers in local civilian first response teams (Kitat Konnenut) to risk opening fire, and having their kids grow up visiting their father once a week from behind a glass partition? Can we expect security guards, often risking their lives for minimum wage, to risk prosecution as well? It's gotten to the point where carrying a gun in Israel has become a liability, and Oy Vavoy to you if you ever need to use it (especially if there is a Kipa on your head)!!!

We have created a situation where every soldier or policeman can't help but hesitate in the midst of battle, endangering their own lives and the lives of others. We have placed a giant stumbling block before them, and are causing widespread transgression of the Biblical commandment not to fear, and in its wake, are causing innocent blood to be shed. And again, I don't blame the soldiers or the policemen here but their commanders and our so called "leaders". It is THEY that all need to "return home" and stop putting the lives of the entire Jewish Nation at risk. It is THEY who have the blood of all those killed and injured on their heads, and it is THEY that prevent our more than capable army from eradicating the threat of the Arab Enemy once and for all because as our fearless Prime Minister said, "we lack the legitimacy to do so". But not only do we lack the legitimacy to be victorious in war, we now even lack the legitimacy for basic acts of self defense. It is no longer legitimate for terrorists to be shot and killed in the course of their acts of murder. Forget the fact that we barely respond when our cities are barraged with missiles, It is no longer legitimate for a Jew to use force to defend himself or his family from marauding Arabs. It must be a throwback to the British Mandate, that we also expect OUR security forces to be unarmed and fight crime with whistles and billy clubs.

We see at the end of the parsha a description of the "Egla Arufa" ceremony. When a dead body is found in the wilderness, the elders of the nearest city must come out, slaughter a calf and proclaim that "their hands did not shed this blood". Our sages ask, can it really be that we suspect our rabbis and leaders of bloodshed and murder?!?! And the answer is an unequivocal YES! The very fact that the leaders of the community allowed such a tragedy to happen, means that THEY on some level bear responsibility for it. Sadly, there are not enough cows in all of Israel to atone for all the innocent blood that as been shed, due to the result of the suicidal policies and ideology of our leadership (both religious AND secular). And there is nary a man in a position of power that can look G-d and the Nation in the eye, and proclaim that their hands did not shed this blood.

May it be G-d's will that we "Restore our judges as in former times, and our counselors as of yore; remove from us sorrow and sighing, and reign over us, You alone, O L-rd, with kindness and compassion, with righteousness and justice." and may we merit to "set a king over ourselves, one whom the Lord, our God, has chosen" and see the restoration of the Davidic Dynasty, with Moshiach Tzidkeinu, and once and for all be able to live under Authentic Jewish Morality and Torah Values in our Land...

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