By Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier
A surgeon once came to the Rebbe to discuss a surgery he was going to perform. During their conversation the man expressed his disagreement with the Rebbe’s uncompromising stance on the safety of the Jewish people in Israel.
The Rebbe asked, “You’re an intelligent and kind person. Can you perhaps divide the surgery into ten segments, cutting open a little at a time, and only then removing the growth, that way avoiding the enormous blood loss and pain to the patient?”
The surgeon explained that the Rebbe obviously knows very little about surgery. “If I were to do that, the incisions would heal in the interim and be worthless, and the growth would continue to enlarge. The only method that works is to open the patient, notwithstanding all the blood loss, and remove the entire growth at once.”
“Perhaps the same is true regarding the situation in Eretz Yisroel?” the Rebbe said he answered the doctor in recalling the conversation during the farbrengen of Shabbos Re’eh 5738 – 1978.
“Claiming that a gradual eradication of the terrorists is the best way to protect innocent civilians is like doing surgery a little at a time,” the Rebbe said.
“Slow negotiations and concessions with terrorists only allow them to grow! The only method that can work is to go in and totally remove the terrorist forces, and after that the healthy tissue – i.e. the many Arabs who have no interest in terror and want only to live peaceful lives – will be spared.”
The words of the Rebbe are as true today as they were then. But what does this mean for those of us who don’t have positions in Israeli politics?
It’s instinctive to many of us to constantly seek updates on the situation in Eretz Yisroel. How many bombs have fallen? Where? When? Where has the IDF struck most recently? etc.
But while this interest expresses our solidarity and empathy for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel, we must ask ourselves, what’s gained by spending hours surfing news websites and posting to our Facebook feeds? How does it help our brothers in Israel?
Chazal tell us of two partnerships:
1. Yisachar and Zevulun, who represent a partnership between the businessman and the Torah scholar. The businessman supports the Torah scholar financially, and benefits by taking part in his Torah study.
2. Dovid Hamelech and Yoav. If not for Yoav, Dovid would not have been able to study Torah, and if not for Dovid studying Torah, Yoav could not have been victorious in battle. The same is true in all Jewish battles.
The Torah mentions Zevulun first, indicating that their sweat and blood and hard earned money earns them greater credit than the Torah scholars. How much more so with regard to the Torah scholar and soldier partnership! The primary credit goes to the soldiers, who risk their very lives to protect us, the Rebbe says in the Sicha of Pinchas 5727 – 1967.
By the same token, the Torah scholar’s efforts must be on-par with the sacrifice of the soldier, which translates to going the extra mile in Yiddishkeit even when it’s tough (Likutei Sichos Vol. 4, pg. 1105).
While Israeli soldiers are out there risking their lives to protect Eretz Yisroel and the Jews living there, we are obligated to fulfill our part of the deal. Every word of Torah we learn, and every good deed we do, directly impacts their safety and success.
Perhaps, by completely dedicating ourselves to Torah and mitzvos we can impact the Israeli government to go ahead with totally eradicating the evil terrorist from our midst, and bring real peace and harmony to Eretz Yisroel.
Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier and his wife direct The Beis Medrash and The Beis Medrash Woman’s Circle in Crown Heights. To reach him or to receive his weekly Dvar Torah emails, email: RabbiMotty@TheBeisMedrash.com.