A soldier, whose unit was taken out of Gaza after a 48 hour operation in order to regroup and go back in, called his Rabbi in Tzfat. He said, "I have so many things I could tell you about, but there is one thing I must tell you. Last Shabbat, when we were about to go in, and everyone was finished painting his face and loading up his gear (40 kilos a person), the commander who is religous, called everyone into a Chet formation (big semi circle). He offered them words of encouragement before the big mission. Then, he closed his eyes, and began to recite in a load voice the Shema Yisrael, which the soldiers repeated after him in loud voices that must have pierced the heavens. The commander then opened up the Chumash, and began to recite the versus from Dvarim:
"1) When thou goest forth to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, thou shalt not be afraid of them; for the LORD thy God is with thee, who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
2) And it shall be, when ye draw nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people,
3) and shall say unto them: 'Hear, O Israel, ye draw nigh this day unto battle against your enemies; let not your heart faint; fear not, nor be alarmed, neither be ye affrighted at them;
4) for the LORD your God is He that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you ......... ........"
Hundreds of soldiers responded 'Amen'. The officer then announced that for whoever wants some extra protection, they have boxes with hundreds of donated pairs of tzizit. Of course the religious soldiers were already wearing tzizit, but there were plenty of soldiers who were not. A few minutes later, every last pair of tzizit had been given out.
After the long 48 hour battle, when the soldiers were leaving Gaza in order to regroup, their clothing was no longer in neat order. Rather, with shirts untucked, the soldiers had tzizit strings flapping around their knees. When this one soldier (a student of the Rav) looked around, he recalled that he wasn't sure if he was out at war or back in Yeshiva!
Another story ....
The military Rabbis brought several Torah Scrolls with them on the busses to Gaza with the troops. When the soldiers entered into Gaza, they entered in two rows. The three Rabbis stood in the middle. As each soldier passed, a hand went out to kiss the Torah. This is how our soldiers entered Gaza.
Mi Keamcha Yisrael ..... . who Hashem is like your nation Israel?
Friday, January 16, 2009
Jewish War Stories--Shabbat Shalom
I received these in the mail: