Rabbi Yitzhak Neriya
Former Rosh Kollel in Montreal
We can learn Torah from everything that happens to us.
Today, as we approach Yom HaDin (the Day of Judgment), I would like to draw a lesson from the Second Lebanon War; to glean an educational insight from the storm of battle. Indeed, this can be compared to choosing a single needle from among a pile of needles. The question is not whether such insights exist, because they do; the problem is deciding which one to select. (My commanding officer jokes that the rabbanim only come to miluim – army reserve duty – so that they’ll have a story for their students.)
Nevertheless, there is one issue which stands out; namely, the mobilization of the “potbelly brigade” – i.e. the miluimnikim. They run the distance when necessary and schlep heavy weights because there’s no choice – in spite of the fact that they’re not really in shape and that when an elevator’s available, they’ll gladly avoid the stairs.
Moreover, we mustn’t forget that behind most miluimnikim stand their wives and children, who do their own share. The home front’s eagerness to invite, to host and to help the beleaguered residents of the North is the surest proof that the nation understood and was fully cognizant of the fact that this was a time of war and that everyone had to pitch in to achieve victory. Each person did what they could; some manned the tillim (missiles), and others manned the Tehillim. The main thing was to achieve victory. In fact, a popular bumper sticker declared, “Anachnu nenatze’ach!” (“We will win!”)
Yet, now during the month of Elul, as we stand on the threshold of the new year, I am reminded of the words of my teacher and master, the gaon Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl shlit”a:
“On Yom HaDin, when the shofar is blown, a person must understand that all the newspaper headlines of the coming year are being written right now.”
Although we’re required to make every effort during wartime and we’re not allowed to rely on miracles, now during the month of Elul, we must announce a general mobilization – a tzav shmoneh (an emergency call-up) – for every man, woman, boy and girl. The real war is not against Hizbullah; rather, on Yom HaDin, we must strive to increase our merits. As Rav Nebenzahl stated:
“Although Klal Yisrael was guaranteed that it would be deemed meritorious, our eyes have seen that there are individuals who have decrees against them. We must not be arrogant on Yom HaDin. Rather, we must understand that we must enlist to the battle and rescue every soul.”
To which I add, “Let us take from this to serve Hashem,” just as the overweight man felt as though he was fit; and the weak man announced that he was brave; and the women mobilized with steadfast emunah (faith). Because this is a time of war, and at times like this, we must give our all, without any excuses. We must not permit the yetzer hara to derail us with his taunts, “Are you a hypocrite? Elul has come, and so now you decide to do teshuvah?” Instead, we must look in the mirror and respond to ourselves, “Yes! This is war!” Anachnu nenatze’ach, and if not now, then when?