Mar 21, 2018

kochi v'otzem yadi?

the news today is all about Israel striking and destroying a nuclear reactor in Syria ten years ago. At the time everyone "knew" but now that it has been officially acknowledged, everyone officially knows.

I have been thinking about what I can say about this matter. There are all sorts of angles worth discussing. I have decided to mention just one aspect of the story.

As part of the release, it became known that the politicians (Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Tzippi Livni, and others) making the decisions sent Eli Yishai to Rav Ovadia Yosef to inform him and to give the mission his blessing and prayer. In addition, the IDF Chief of Staff asked Rav Shmuel Rabinovitch to daven for the success of the mission.

All these people, secular politicians and generals, leaders of a secular army and a largely secular state, none of them known for being even somewhat traditional, went to rabbonim for brachas and prayers prior to engaging in such a critical mission.

Maybe they don't talk about God and His part in modern State affairs as often as we might like. Maybe we accuse them often of forgetting God's part and being too focused on "my power and my might" - kochi v'otzem yadi - but at the end of the day, when the going gets tough, when it comes down to anything important, they value and ask for the blessings and prayers of the religious leaders and value their part in affairs and consider them as crucially necessary as any other aspect in preparation for critical missions.

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  1. Agreed. I wonder how Satmar would have reacted if asked? Purely i theory, of course. I wonder if currently they and NK look at that success and find negative in it? Ah, spin, what would we do without it!

    1. When Israel was at war, the the original Satmar Rav (R' Yoel) would say Tehilim for the soldiers. He was against the State of Israel, but not against individual Jews.

    2. It’s easy to say that, and I’m sure he didn’t dislike individuals or even the soldiers. But the question really was on the mission. Would he take sides with the state or Syria?

    3. there is a famous story of a meeting in 1968 with Senator Hubert Humphrey, then running for the presidency. The rebbe's aides had warned Humphrey against raising any political issues pertaining to Israel. When he was informed of this after the meeting, the rebbe laughed

      Had Humphrey spoken to me in support of the Zionist state, it wouldn't have bothered me in the least. We Jews have a Torah which forbids us to have a state during the exile, and therefore we may not ask the Americans to support the state. But a non-Jew has no Torah, and by supporting the state he feels he is helping Jews. So, on the contrary, if an American non-Jew is against the Zionist state, it shows he is an anti-Semite.

    4. I heard it as the politician (whoever it was) went on and on about his support of Israel, and the chassidim had a hard time not snickering, but the Rebbe set them straight.

  2. There is a story, (although I can validate whether it is true), that after the IDF had initiated the rescue of the hostages in Entebbe there was a closed Knesset session when the knesset was informed of what was going on. As they were almost the only people in the world who knew about the operation and the danger our soldiers were flying into, together the Knesset recited Tehillim as there was no one else who could pray for our soldiers.

    Compare this to 1948 when the debate was whether to include a reference to G-d in the Declaration of Independence and it was only by an executive decision by ben Gurion that the compromise term "Tzor Yisrael" was included, against the advise of his secular colleagues. (Interestingly, in the official English translation, "Tzur Yisrael" was translated as "Almighty G-d")


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