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What Should Israel Do Now? An Open Letter from Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh

With the grace of God Motza’ai Simchat Torah 5784

An Open Letter To our brothers, the House of Israel,

“It is a time of calamity for Jacob, and from it, he will be redeemed.”

We pray that God will safeguard and save the Children of Israel, His beloved, from all troubles and hardship—the civilians and the soldiers, wherever they may be. May the Holy Blessed One redeem the captives and safeguard them from all evil, send a complete recovery to the wounded, and comfort the families of the holy casualties, may God avenge their blood.

As we just said in the Hoshanot prayers on Sukkot that describe the Jewish people, “Save she who is likened to a date tree, she who is murdered for you, considered like a sheep to the slaughter…embraced with and cleaving to you….” The self-sacrifice will ascend before God’s Throne of Glory and God will decree that we have suffered enough troubles and will redeem us, a complete, speedy redemption.

The God of Hosts will give us knowledge and insight, boldness and might to fight the enemy and defeat them, as King David said, “I will pursue my enemies and I will overtake them and I will not return until they are eliminated.” Our sages say, “He who comes to kill you—stand up to kill him first.” The heads of State and the security officials must restore our security and avenge the blood of those murdered, may God avenge their blood. We must define a clear goal: To kill all the members of the terror organizations “until they are eliminated.” First and foremost, the leaders of the terrorists must be eliminated. Whomever stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment of this objective is dangerous to Israel and will be a legitimate target for retaliation.

We must not delay the necessary military response! Whoever hesitates when it comes to saving lives – it is as if he has shed blood (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 328:2). The Prime Minister and all those in leadership positions must demonstrate leadership and act without fear or delay, to defeat and eliminate the enemy. There is no mitzvah greater than the redemption of captives (Hilchot Matnot Aniyim 8:10). However, we cannot surrender to the enemy’s blackmail and forgo the action that we must take for Israel’s security, out of fear for the well-being of the hostages. The good of the entire public takes precedence!

We must point out the erroneous assumptions and the failed intelligence, similar to the Yom Kippur War fiasco 50 years ago. We must learn the lesson and rectify the twisted logic with a new consciousness and an aggressive security stance. We must remember that it is God “Who gives us the strength to succeed” and with that in mind, we must take full advantage of the strength that God gives us, according to the ethics of our holy Torah. We must be careful not to err in an illusion that “my power and the strength of my hand have given me all of this might.”

We must all redouble our efforts in these days to learn Torah, pray and perform acts of kindness, to add merits to the Nation of Israel. We must especially strengthen ourselves in safeguarding holiness and modesty, “For Havayah your God walks in your camp to save you and give your enemy before you, and your camp should be holy.”

May it be God’s will that the blessing of Moses will soon be fulfilled upon us: “Happy are you Israel, a nation saved by God, He is the shield of your help and the sword of your excellence. And your enemies shall dwindle away, and you shall tread upon their high places.”

HaRav Yitzchak Ginsburgh

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