Thursday, July 17, 2014

Surrender or Self-Defense as a Divine Command

By Rabbi Yisrael Rosen
Dean of the Zomet Institute

"Take the revenge of Bnei Yisrael from the Midyanites... And they attacked Midyan andthey killed every male... And all of their cities where they were and all of their castles, they burned by fire." [Bamidbar 31:1,7,10].
A Forceful Policy of "Kill him First"
As I write this article, our entire country is being bombarded, from Dimona in the south to Haifa in the north. With the kindness of G-d, the "Iron Dome" over our heads is sealed tight. Everybody who sees and hears about the situation can only give praise, and they all glorify and give thanks to the Master of the Universe, in addition to praising those who developed this defensive weapon.
In the current "war game," as I write these lines, the traditional roles have been reversed. The Palestinians who spit out their terrorist rockets proudly tout their "victories" and consider themselves as David fighting Goliath (the Pelishti!), which we represent. We are protected by armor and the Iron Dome, and they are searching for the cracks in the dome, or perhaps to show that it is too small to give full protection for the entire expanse of our heads, so that they will be able to hit our head with a stone, heaven forbid. I am sorry to say that I have a feeling that our leaders in charge of security have their own doubts about the defense capabilities of the Iron Dome, and they might be anticipating a disaster, to give us an excuse to act with the appropriate level of full force.
Force is indeed called for, and this includes using it against citizens who support the terrorism and collaborators. The Tanach emphasizes that David used the oppressor's own sword to kill him – "And David ran and stood over the Pelishti, and he took his sword and drew it from its sheath, and he killed him. And he used it to cut off his head." [Shmuel I 17:51]. This is exactly what David's acclaimed Chief of Staff, Benayahu Ben Yehoyada did ("a valiant and accomplished man" [Shmuel II 23:20]) –"And he stole the spear from the hand of the Egyptian and killed him with his own spear" [23:21]. What do these passages teach us? This is the Divine (and David-inspired) command: Use the enemy's own weapon, his own tactics, his own sword.
We can conclude that since the Hamas terror organization rains down a thousand bombs on population centers in order to specifically target the citizens, we must steal their own "sword" and not be deterred from using their tactic against their own citizens. There should be no humanitarian considerations for Palestinians who cover for murderers and support them with shouts of encouragement. The clearing of large areas of any population ("they burned all their castles by fire," as quoted above) is an appropriate forceful measure under the current circumstances. The passage describing the "taking of the spear and using it against them" is not merely a recorded fact, rather it is advice and perhaps even a heavenly command: "If one comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first." This does not mean that one has permission to act – rather, it is a command!
This command, "If one comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first," is derived from last week's Torah portion, specifically from the command to instigate a war against Midyan. "'Treat the Midyanites as enemies, for they treat you as enemies' [Bamidbar 25:17-18]. The sages derive from this that if one comes to kill you, you should rise up and kill him first." [Midrash Rabba Pinchas 21]. This idea is based on the double wording – "treat them as enemies... for they treat you as enemies." This refers not only to having harsh intentions (and condemnation by the media), but to physically carrying them out, as is clear in the verses quoted above: "And they killed every male... and all of their castles they burned by fire."
Surrender and a Cry to Cease Fire!
As far as Hamas and real life, our enemies are experts at propaganda and at fooling the entire world, including themselves. They are proud of – and believe in – their own victory. They portray Israel as people who flee into their shelters, pursued by sirens and involved in endless media discussions about the fears of the children and economic damage, and about international threats – in short, people who are worried sick about "What will be?" In order to give them a true picture, it is not enough that the speaker on our side understands the situation. What is needed is for the one who listens to receive the broadcast, to hear it on the same wavelength and at full volume.
We will never win against the arrogance of the people of Azza until we hear them cry out and beg us: Cease your fire! (Note the similar sound of "azut metzach" – arrogance – and the name of the area, Azza.)  The Plagues in Egypt teach us that only a plague of hail ("with fire burning within the hail" [Shemot 9:24]) will cause the enemy to declare, "I and my nation are sinners" [ibid]. Only then will "the sounds stop and the hail will no longer fall" [9:29]. And if the plague of hail is not enough, it should be followed by a plague of darkness. In modern terms, this means a total electricity blackout for our enemies (it is the height of absurdity to have to state this). This may well be considered as a non-humanitarian act in the eyes of the "righteous" west, but we can rely on the Prophet Elisha who served as a Divine advisor in the struggle against Moav: "This is what G-d said... Chop down every good tree and block every spring, and fill every good piece of land with a clutter of stones" [Melachim II 3:19]. In modern terms, this means severe economic sanctions, including withholding public utilities, such as water! And in the end, the next step is the Plague of the Firstborn, where "no house remained where there was not a dead person" [Shemot 12:30].
In summary: What is necessary is total surrender by Hamas, "going down on their knees." Anything less will only lead to the next round of war. My assumption is that after the censure which can be expected to come, the "world" will accept the situation after-the-fact, and will even thank us – either openly or in secret – for smashing the snake's head of the Hamas and its natural surroundings: Islamic Fundamentalism.
I must admit that I am left with one unsolved problem, which is the major stumbling block to our victory: "The traitorous Israeli left..."
(Written on the eve of the seventeenth of Tammuz.)

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