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We Are All On The Front Line

This email finds Jews in cities throughout America (and beyond) but wherever we may find ourselves, our hearts are all in the same place, with our brothers and sisters in Israel. Our minds are preoccupied with those living under incessant rocket fire and the courageous IDF soldiers who are out on the front, risking their lives to keep our homeland safe.  


This week's Torah portion seems almost to have been written to precisely address our current situation. The Parsha describes G-d's message to the Jews as they finally stood, after 40 years of wandering in the desert, at the border of the Land of Israel, ready to enter the Holy Land. G-d told them: "When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you... You shall clear out the Land and settle in it, for I have given you the Land to inhabit it... But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then those whom you leave over will be as spikes in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they will harass you in the land in which you settle."


As Jews, we are blessed with compassion and lovingkindness, and we yearn for peace. But the message is clear. The only way to secure Israel and the Jewish nation--to achieve peace--is to remove all of the terrorists. Peace cannot be made with terrorists, just as peace cannot be made with cancer.

A patient with a cancerous tumor in his leg might be inclined to simply try to live with it, let it be, live in peace, even if it's a little uncomfortable. But the cancer will not remain in the leg; it is the nature of cancer to grow and proliferate until it has overtaken every healthy cell in the body. To make peace with cancer is to bring death upon oneself, G-d forbid.


Unfortunately, terrorism is just like a cancer cell. Concession and peace deals in which we believe their words that they will remain peaceful simple does not work. How long can we make concessions, give them land and money, and tell them "live and let others live?" We don't have to look too far back into history to see that peace deals do not work. With certain civilized people this technique may work. But not with cancer - not with terrorists. They will not remain in their place. They continuously expand and kill and cause death to their own people as well. One must deal with terrorism by totally eradicating it. For Hamas will constantly try to expand its military forces to once again bring about the death of innocent people. If Israel will not continue its work to rid Gaza of all terrorism, Hamas will start rebuilding their arsenal the moment IDF troops leave Gaza. This would be like a surgeon who begins a surgery, but stops in middle.   


May G-d protect our soldiers and may the IDF forces have overwhelming success in their holy task, and may they all return in good health.


What can we do for the sake of our soldiers? Although we find ourselves thousands of miles from the battlefield, our hearts are with them and we yearn to assist and support the IDF with their fighting.


The Jewish nation fights wars on two fronts: the physical plane and the spiritual one. Although Jews in the Diaspora cannot take part in the physical war, the spiritual battle is not limited by space. We must partake in the spiritual side of the war by doing additional Mitzvot and good deeds. The effect of a Mitzvah is not limited to the place where it is performed; rather it adds strength and might, blessing and success to the Jews living in the holy land and to our soldiers in particular.


Every mitzvah is a spiritual victory, but there are a few Mitzvoth that the Rebbe specifically mentioned have special powers to enhance the security and safety of the Jewish nation.


Love Our Fellow Jew:  In last week's Torah portion we read that when the Jewish people returned from battling the nation of Midyan, there were no casualties. Every war has casualties. So what accounted for the miraculous absence when the Jews waged war with Midyan? The Hebrew word midyan means strife. The war with Midyan represents the battle to eliminate strife and fighting. Thus, when we go to battle to eradicate hatred, and we strive to increase the love for our fellow Jew, G-d blesses us by minimizing casualties.


Tefilin: Based on the divine promise that in the merit of the mitzvah of tefilin, "All the nations of the world will see that the name of G-d is called upon you, and they will fear you," the Rebbe initiated the tefillin campaign during the six day war, and assured us that the donning of Tefillin by Jewish boys and men would bring great miracles.


Letter in a Torah Scroll: Based on the prophecy of Daniel, "At that time your people will be saved; everyone whose name shall be found written in the book," the Rebbe initiated a campaign to have every Jew acquire a letter in a Torah scroll to foster Jewish unity and security. Especially for soldiers, writing a letter in the Torah for them puts their name in G-d's book and brings them special merit.


Praise G-d for the Miracles: Together with the terrible pain at the loss of life, and the recognition that each Jewish individual is "an entire world," who we must endeavor to keep safe, we must recognize and thank G-d for the miracles that we have seen and continue to see. How thousands of rockets are being fired into Israel and there are so few casualties. This cannot be explained naturally and is clearly the hand of G-d.


Mezuzah: To place a Mezuzah upon every doorpost and to check them periodically. Our sages have said: "A human king sits inside his palace, and his servants guard him from the outside. But you sleep on your beds, and G-d guards you (i.e. through the mezuzah on your doorposts) from the outside."


Charity: The verse tells us that, "Charity saves from death." Let us give charity and affix a charity box on the walls of our houses, so our homes themselves become part of the mitzvah of charity.


Holy books: To have books of Torah (especially Chitas--Torah, Tehilim, and a Tanya) --in one's home, office and car.



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