How to Win A War the Jewish Way

Published on 2 April 2024 at 14:42

October the 7th on Shabbos morning, as many were getting ready to go to Shul. Its Simchat Torah and as many sang  and danced with the Torah Scroll, the news was slowly spreading, whispers and worried faces, men in IDF uniforms hurrying out of the doors. A strange feeling, mixed emotions of joy and fear.

By evening entire communities in Israel but also around the world where shocked by the horrific news, a genocidal attack did took place in the Kibbutzim, on our people, and at the Nova Music festival, by then whole communities in Israel were hiding in shelters from the incoming attacks from Gaza, on our Homeland which should be a safe place for Jews.

Its was October the 7th the day that everything changed, nothing would be ever the same.


Still devastated and in shock by the atrocity, our purpose was to support our people, who where affected by the war. As days went into weeks and into months, some were tempted to argue in favor of Israel, wining Social Media battles with anti- Israel protesters, covincing friends and co- workers of the legitimacy of our nation and its actions. Rabbi Manis Friedman, however, advise against it and says that this should not be our focus, energy and efforts.


Anybody, by now who argues that Israel is an " occupier " in its own land, or that the indigenious people of Israel are in fact the Palestinians, is beyond reason. It is not  our aim to attack other people's opinion about Israel, or the Jews. Our intentions, Rabbi Friedman explains is to present a coherent, a Torah- based approach and unfortunately also to war.


There is no morality anymore, everyone is convinced that they are moral, but most don't have any idea of its meaning. Taking sides is the easy way, its not about ' who was here first ' or ' who is the weaker party ' or even ' who has more casulties'. A more healthy approach would be, to give time and energy to those  who have a genuinely interest in justice and truth, to bring clarity in a conversation based on principle rather than on prejudice.


When there is a personal need to feel moral and righteous, which is not always consistent with the facts of live, accourding to Rabbi Friedman. When the world is debating whether the Jews have a right to live as a sovereign nation in Israel, we could ask ourselves how did other nations of the world came to their land. Did they acquier the land? No  they conquered land through war.


History tells us that there is no land on this planet, that is more deeply and foundational associated with one people, for such a long time as Israel. No matter what occupying army comes along and subjugates the indigenious people, it always will remain Israel. The Babylonians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Turks, the British, they all tried  and claimed it was their land, sending us in golus and chaging the name, for example " Palestine." We all know that this has nothing to do with International law, that Israel is the land of the Jews.


Anyone of any nation can leave their religion of  birth and upbringing and to convert into a different one, yet, Jews can't. The Torah tells us that we are an acception to the rule. Our Jewishness is for life, its G-d given. This also applies to Israel, although the world believes that when it comes to land, whoever conquers it, owns it. This is a misconception, as the Holiness of the land of Israel is tied together to the Holiness of the Jewish people. It was by Divine Will that the Holy Kingdom was founded in Israel, built by the Jewish people. Which will shine its light unto the entire world.


Who invented Palestine? History shows us that there was no such land as " Palestine ", there simply never was one. There are no historical records of a national identity of people called " Palestinians." What was the name of the Prime Ministsr before Yasser Arafat? What was the flag before the PLO was founded in 1964? What is the distinguised culture of the Palestinians? Their is none. Palestine wasn't a nation by anyone untill the 1960s, after the Six Day War, when Arafat colluded together with the Soviet KGB and turned the place into Palestine. It was always Judea and Samaria and untill this days it still is, nothing can ever change that.


There has been so many wars in Israel and the victories have never been complete. By making the land Holy ourselves, we are helping to make the super- natural, natural again, bringing miracles into down to earth everyday life. HaShem is Godly, always has been and for Him to make Israel Holy is not much of a achievement. Our mission is to become Godly, by devoting ourselves to His Will, this is our job.


The Jewish soul is Godly and eternal, which means it comes before creation. The Jews are not a nation of the world, Rabbi Friedman explains, in creation there are the nations of the world, and then there is the Jewish nation, not of this world. This outsider status of the Jews is a major cause of antisemitism. We are like strangers to this world, and we are so easy ascused of stealing and taking over. All Nations are called Amei Haaretz, meaning " the nations of the Earth." One of the ways Jews are inherently different is that in essence they are not subject to conversion. A Jew could become the Pope and still remains Jewish. A Jew simply cannot become someone other than a Jew, as Israel cannot become another country.


Jews are inseparable bonded with Israel, because the most ideal place to fulfill our mission is in the Holy land. The Godly soul descends to the world of physical reality for the purpose of elevating it to a higher realm. Jews therefore are not of this world


Is Israel working for us the way its meant to be? Israel is a democracy, this in itsself is not a bad thing, but is it working for us? Do we truly think its wonderful, being the only democracy in the Middle East? It maybe  a good thing  for a government. But for us? A Euro- American democratic government, founded by the principles but surrounded by ethno- religious dictatorships, Israel is naturally very vulnarable and will always be a outcast. In a sense, as Rabbi Friedman explaines, it may be hurting Israel badly, because democracy doesn't belong in the ecosystem in which it must survive.


The Jewish ethics of war. G-d is good, kind and merciful, why did He create war? How could bloodshed, death, destruction and suffering be considered justified, let alone necessary? Can there be such an oxymoron as a holy war? The kabbalistic idea that everyting is good in creation is mirrored by an equal and oppersite evil twin. The sublime human ideals of love and peace cannot exist without hate, hostility and distruction, seriously? War exists and all it does means that it must serve some purpose in HaShem's plan. Maybe this idea can be better understood in terms of our own inner conflict that takes places in each of us. When we are faced with a choice between our human soul and our Godly soul,an internal war breaks out. This is a battle between right and wrong, and calls for refining our freedom of choice and in a very real sense, a holy war.


Whenever Hamas bombs Israel with rockets, as they did during and after the attack on October 7th, Israel responded by bombing terrorist buildings in Gaza, and at this point the global media and activists begin protesting and although Israel has a right to defend itself, the response was " proportionality " in other words the IDF attacks should not be harsher than the attack to which they respond. Does the Torah tells us to fight proportionately?  Yes the Torah guides to remain proportionate and this means that Israel must eliminate as many as needed to establish peace. Proportionality is doing what is necessary to end the war.


When Jews have been murdered in terrorist attacks, its because they were Jewish. But they did not die as victims, but as heroes. The Chayalim too are fighting an essential cause, so Jews can live freely in our ancestrial Homeland, which is our eternal right given to us by HaShem.


Every Jew, wherever they are residing in the world should driven by the same purpose, each using there own unique talents to defend and improve the lives of all Jews, everywhere we should express our Jewishness, visibly and publicy, in body and soul. Being a proud Jew and not being ashamed of who we are, this would only weaken us.. Rabbi Friedman stresses that not soley with arranging huge rallies and hanging flags, as all oppressed people are entitle to do, but by seeking out and presenting to the world which is distinctively ours.


Being a proud Jew we demostrate this pride in another dimension. We shouldn't underestimate lighting the Shabbos candles, learning Torah, putting on Tefillin, Tefila, giving Tzedaka, Chesed, blowing the Shofar, all these Mitzvos are great gifts, exclusively to the Jews and they are our weapons of a Holy war.


When something horrific happens like the atrocities of October 7th, voices are raised asserting that they deserved it and how it must be a punishment, and that they must do Teshuvah. All this is a chilul HaShem and giving HaShem a bad name. We are all far from were we promised on Har Sinai : Naaseh Venishma - Everything HaShem said, We will do, We will hear. After so many wars, and so many trauma's and so much pain for over two thousand years, we have grown numb and trying our best to fulfill our mission, we been promised HaShem's forgiveness, and in this stage of our history we should only expect His Love, Kindness and Mercy.


Every single one of us, whether we are a rabbi, a teacher or a member of our community we must do our best to understand that HaShem is giving every Jew the benefit of the doubt. We are all worthy, and loving your fellow Jew as yourself, is one people with one soul, making the world a better place. Our empathy for our brothers and sisters extend towards HaShem and we should not try to justify tradegy and insinuating that a Jew who have died has sinned. HaShem is our Tatty, our father and the pain He is feeling is infinitely greater than our own.


From a spiritual point of view, each of us in our very own way, with different plan of action, in the hope that the world is moving towards perfection. The strength to defeat our enemies, to overcome our fears and to repair what is broken in this world, lies in our deeply rooted faith. Every Jew should know there is a end goal which is essential to HaShem. Geulah the ultimate revelation of oneness in a broken world. From our natural human state we need to elevate ourselves to a Divine state. On our journey towards redemption, we, the Jewish people( all of us) should observe the Mitzvos and look in our children's eyes and promis that everything is going to be fine.

 " Do not ask what is going to be. That we already know. Instead, ask what we can do to make the world better today."- The Rebbe

How can we make the world better today?

There was a time that Jewish people who observed the mitzvos were generally religious Jews, it means in simple terms  growing up in a religious community, on a personal level saving ourselves from heavenly judgement or a portion in Olam haba. This is no longer the situation, more and more Jews becoming more comfortable with doing mitzvos, for spiritual reasons or to deepen a sense of connection with a Jewish community, and better appreciated a connection with HaShem.


Through our mitzvos HaShem is asking us to love our fellow Jew, to light the Shabbos candles, to put on tefillin, to wear tzitzits. The Mitzvos is about serving HaShem of essential value, for its own sake. 

We are living in the final phase on the way to redemption and to uncover the perfection that has been hiding for so long. Start doing Godly things, for that you don't need to change who you are, or your clothes, you don't even have live in a Jewish community. You don't need to become someone else, just do a mitzvah, one at the time, like lighting the Shabbos candles, putting Tefillin or eating kosher. Getting comfortable doing this mitzvah, performing a second mitzvah, and so on until it becomes natural.


We been calling for redemption, the coming of the Moshiach, Jews have been waiting  and praying for the Moshiach every single day for thousands of years. We don't know who he is, or what he looks like, and we are not suppose to figure that out. We know that the very essence the Moshiach brings to the world is clarity, knowledge and truth. We will know him when we see him, everyone will know.

What we need to know about Moshiach, that he will come when we are doing our part, doing what HaShem wants of us. How do we know what HaShem wants ? By studying Torah, the orginal and authentic Torah, given to us on Har Sinai, with the written and oral traditions.

We have never felt the need to attack, exploit or intimidate other people, other nations, our mission is and always has been to learn what HaShem needs from us,and to present that to the rest of the world.




How to win a war ( the Jewish way ) is a guide for post- war sanity by Rabbi Manis Friedman .