Questions about armed conflict and armed services.

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Can a person break an oath to G-d to save a life?

Can a person break an oath to G-d to save a life? For example, if someone in the army made an official oath to serve the army and obey the commands always, but one day the person saw his commander ...
3
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1answer
55 views

Why was Joshua allowed to break the Shabot in attacking Yericho?

In Joshua 6, the Jews marched around Jericho, thereby attacking it. Why was Joshua allowed to break the Shabot in attacking Yericho? Did not this march around Yericho begin on Rosh Chodesh and last ...
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1answer
40 views

Where did the king's horses come from?

It's written in this Torah portion that a king isn't allowed to acquire any horses for himself, because it will cause people to go to Egypt and buy them, and it is forbidden to return to Egypt. ...
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1answer
48 views

What is the modern Jewish attitude towards the Zealots and Sicarii?

One of the leading factions in the Jewish Revolt of 66-70 was the Zealot movement, and its splinter group, the Sicarii. I would imagine that the attitude towards them is somewhat complicated, or at ...
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3answers
282 views

How did the Jewish people understand and make sense of the destruction of the Second Temple?

Since I began studying the history of the Christian faith, and the relation between Judaism and Christianity, I have been struck by the idea of the Second Temple's destruction. I simply can't imagine ...
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Hand-Held Electronic Body Scanners on Shabbat

Can hand held electronic body scanners be used by synagogue volunteers on Shabbat for security purposes? This is in response to terrorist threats against American (specifically American-Jewish) ...
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2answers
48 views

List of books (sforim) and articles about Jewish war in halacha

What are good books or articles (either for free online or for sale anywhere) on the laws of war, particularly how it should be done today and how it will be done when Moshiach comes?
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43 views

King David conquering bandits/troops (literally, גדוד) to get money for Jews in need

The Talmud Bavli Brachot (3b) says that when Jews needed financial assistance and the economy did not have enough money to go around, King David would advise the sages of Israel to confiscate money ...
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56 views

Why didn't Joshua take Prisoners When conquering Israel?

Why didn't Joshua take prisoners when conquering Israel? In Joshua chapter 10 it lists a number of nations that they conquer and kill. In verse 35 it states: [they] destroyed every soul that was ...
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68 views

What was the Plague of the Sword?

In the Haggadah you will find the following exegesis of part of Deuteronomy 26:8: וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה. זוֹ הַחֶרֶב, כְּמָה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְחַרְבּוֹ שְׁלוּפָה בְּיָדוֹ, נְטוּיָה ...
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29 views

When was the war with Amalek?

It seems from its placement in Chumash that the (first) war with Amalek occurred between the exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah at Sinai. (Is that the case, or did it occur at another ...
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2answers
142 views

Why did Moshe insist on killing the Midianite babies?

After the Midianites enticed the Israelites to fornicate and worship their false deity (Baal of Peor), Moshe launched a surprise attack and slaughtered all the adults, but the warriors left the ...
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23 views

What was the nature of the tax of 32 people?

BeMidbar 31:40 states that, after the war with the Midyanim, in which Bnei Yisrael were instructed to take captives and booty, and to pay taxes to HaShem from this plunder, they "paid" a total of ...
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1answer
30 views

Discrepancy -shoftim 7:18 and 7:20

Before Gideon goes out to war: יח וְתָקַעְתִּי בַּשּׁוֹפָר אָנֹכִי וְכָל אֲשֶׁר אִתִּי וּתְקַעְתֶּם בַּשּׁוֹפָרוֹת גַּם אַתֶּם סְבִיבוֹת כָּל הַמַּחֲנֶה וַאֲמַרְתֶּם לַיהֹוָה וּלְגִדְעוֹן: He says ...
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2answers
920 views

Mosaic Law and ISIS

Recently I had a conversation about ISIS with a friend who is Catholic by faith, he said that ISIS should be stopped but that we (The US or any other foreign power) should not kill them, whereas I ...
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2answers
72 views

Why did it take 2 days in the city of Shushan?

The reason Purim is celebrated for two days in a "walled city" is that the Megilat Esther says the Jews of the city of Shushan (the capital) needed/took an extra day to fight for their survival. My ...
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12 views

In the Book Of Judges(Shoftim) Why was Judah unable to conquer the inhabitants in the valley?

It says in Judges 1:19: And the Lord was with Judah, and they drove out the inhabitants of the mountains; but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, for they had iron chariots. ...
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2answers
87 views

Who was for and against Jews fighting back against the Germans in WW2?

There was a famous controversy regarding the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising that was the largest uprising the Jews performed against the Nazis. I have heard tell that a lot of Rabbonim banned fighting back ...
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2answers
76 views

Is an Eishet Yefat Toar beautiful physically or spiritually?

Devarim 21:10-14 explains the law of an Eishet Yefat Toar. The standard commentaries there indicate that she is desirable because of physical beauty. This also seems to be what the pshat is. ...
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1answer
63 views

“Your teeth are like a flock of ewes” — why teeth?

Mesillas Yesharim (ch. 11) cites the interpretation of Medrash Rabba on a verse in Shir Hashirim: ‏"שניך כעדר הרחלים," מה רחל זו צנועה, כך היו ישראל צנועים וכשרים במלחמת מדין.‏ ...
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1answer
114 views

What Have Modern Posqim said about Nuclear Weapons?

I'm looking to find teshuvot from modern posqim that discuss the permissability of possessing and using nuclear weapons.
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72 views

Understanding the incident with Goliat

In I Shmuel 17 the Jews are camped opposite the Plishtim, preparing for battle. Goliat the giant offers an alternative to fighting, one warrior from each side will do battle, the winner 'wins' the ...
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64 views

how is a Jewish war leader dedicated?

As I recall from some passages, there were times when a priest had to anoint a war-leader... not necessarily a king, but sometimes a dedicated warrior to handle an emergency. Can an expert in sword ...
6
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1answer
753 views

What is the Jewish position on aggressive acts of war?

I am reading the "The Jewish State" by Theodor Herzl, he proposes the creation of a Jewish State through mostly financial means. I don't recall a war in recent (hundreds of years) where the Jewish ...
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2answers
224 views

Torture in Jewish Law Used Against the Enemy

Does Halacha allow Jews to commit physical or psychological torture against their enemies when necessary (e.g. in a time of war, to get vital information from them, etc.) and to what extent is it ...
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1answer
41 views

Prophecies of the Maccabees uprising are foretold in which ancient book?

I read on the internet somewhere about an ancient prophesy in which the Lord having horns on His head and using them to fight back against the Dragon and the horns on the Dragons head. One of the ...
11
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1answer
229 views

How do soldiers in the IDF obey Deuteronomy 23:13?

The mitvah talks about ensuring every soldiers have a spade to cover their excrement. The mitvah seems to be pretty obsolete because by now we have toilets all over the place. So, how it's done? Do ...
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1answer
141 views

Did the Israeli soldiers who were involved in Operation Protective Edge eliminate any parts of davening?

I assume that those driving the tanks, going in the tunnels, and otherwise in immediate dangerous situations either completely miss a prayer, or eliminate parts of it. Maybe they are saying "Havinenu" ...
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Can a yefas toar be Jewish?

I realize that when the torah discusses אשת יפת תואר it specifies כִּי-תֵצֵא לַמִּלְחָמָה, עַל-אֹיְבֶיךָ (Bamidbar 21:10) But I would still like to know if the halacha of אשת יפת תואר could ...
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2answers
38 views

Had B'nai Yisra'el not sent the spies, would they have had to fight against Amalek?

Rashi on Devarim 1:8 says that if it weren't for the sin with the spies, we would have never needed armaments. Bamidbar 14:25 tells us that Amalek lived in the valleys, and Devarim 25:29 states that ...
5
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3answers
213 views

Which tehillim are best to say for the welfare of soldiers at war?

At least one Israel Defense Forces soldier fighting in Gaza is the son of dear friends of my family. I want to focus my tefilla on his welfare, by name, although I certainly pray for the well-being ...
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0answers
76 views

Which of the Napoleonic wars had no casualties?

The Chasam Sofer (droshos 8th Tamuz) writes about a war in the year 1809 with no causalities on our side. Can anyone tell us which war this was, and where these details may be recorded?
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70 views

Operation Protective Edge and My Brothers Keeper [closed]

In light of current events are there what are the halachic resolutions surrounding Operation Protective Edge and Operation My Brother's Keeper? Issues include: firing at legitimate targets if it is ...
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1answer
64 views

Would Moshe have lived longer if he had delayed fighting Midyan?

Rashi to Bamidbar 31:3 says: וידבר משה וגו': אף על פי ששמע שמיתתו תלויה בדבר עשה בשמחה ולא איחר: Moses spoke: Although he heard that his death depended on the matter, he did it joyfully, ...
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1answer
115 views

Arabs recognise Hashems watchfull hand over Klal Yisroel

I heard that recently an Arab officer claimed that they are competent with aiming their missiles but that Hashem is helping Eretz Yisroel Does anyone know a source for this [online or other]?
7
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1answer
156 views

What is the correct emotion to feel upon hearing about enemy civilian casualties?

Recent missiles sent by Hamas landed in Hebron. When my neighbor told me about this, it was unclear whether they had hurt any Arab civilians. I said that I hoped not, while my neighbor basically said ...
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2answers
119 views

War, Pray and Learn

The Medrash Rabbah and the Yalkut relate that during the war against Midyon, for every one that went out to battle there was a designated person whose task it was to pray and learn for him. Where in ...
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1answer
142 views

The spies mentioning Amalek

When the spies come back, all of them (aside from Yehoshua Bin Nun and Calev Ben Yefuneh) return with negative reports of the land. Among these reports is a reference to Amalek: “Amalek dwell in the ...
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234 views

Is it a Mitzva Deorayta (Biblical Commandment) to serve in the IDF?

בס"ד What do the contemporary poskim say about the serving in the IDF? Do they consider it a Biblical commandment (mitzva de'orayta) if one chooses to serve? I am obviously not talking about the ...
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1answer
142 views

Responding to an army draft before 20

מבן עשרים שנה ומעלה, כל-יוצא צבא בישראל--תפקדו אותם לצבאותם, אתה ואהרון. (במדבר א:ג)‏ Rashi, commenting on Bamidbar 1:3, says that you should not join the army younger than 20. Is it ...
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2answers
161 views

Pirates and Torah

In the 16th and 17th centuries European nations granted "letters of marque" licensing pirates to attack rival nation's ships. The major powers at the time were England, Portugal, Spain, and France ...
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2answers
112 views

is there a hint in scripture or midrash for a future nuclear war?

There is a saying in chazal that 1/3 of all the troubles to befall the world will occur in the war of Gog U'Magog. Is there any hint/allusion in scripture or midrash of an upcoming nuclear war?
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1answer
138 views

Treating with Amalek

The nation of Amalek sets itself apart as being eternally at war with Gd, (Ex. 17:16). We are commanded to eradicate the memory of Amalek from the world, (Deut 25:19). Yet Maimonides codifies an ...
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1answer
133 views

Were Amalek offered a peaceful exit?

Inspired by this: The Rambam in Hilchos Melachim 6:1 writes: אין עושין מלחמה עם אדם בעולם, עד שקוראין לו לשלום--אחד מלחמת הרשות, ואחד מלחמת מצוה War is not waged with anyone in the world ...
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1answer
228 views

The beautiful captive vs. self-pleasure

If a soldier is in battle and meets an attractive woman, there is a dispensation for him to have her. Opinions differ as to whether he can rape her or whether it must be consensual, and how many times ...
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2answers
160 views

Can Jews standing naval watches take their shabbat in shifts?

Suppose you have an major naval ship (aircraft carrier or nuclear sub) with a small complement of Jews on board. They're divided by the executive officer to stand watches, same as the rest of the ...
3
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1answer
120 views

Soldier's Shovel

Is there a shiur for the item the soldier is obligated to carry in Devarim 23:14? וְיָתֵד תִּהְיֶה לְךָ עַל אֲזֵנֶךָ וְהָיָה בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ חוּץ וְחָפַרְתָּה בָהּ וְשַׁבְתָּ וְכִסִּיתָ אֶת צֵאָתֶךָ ...
5
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1answer
62 views

Who protected the women and children of Reuven, Gad, and 1/2 Manashe during the conquest?

The conquest of the land described in the book of Yehoshua took seven years (Erchin 13a, h/t DoubleAA).1 It is only at the end of the conquest that Yehoshua dismisses the "shock troops". We know ...
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1answer
164 views

Why were Joab killing all males in Edom? [closed]

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Kings%2011&version=NKJV? 14 Now the Lord raised up an adversary against Solomon, Hadad the Edomite; he was a descendant of the king in Edom. ...
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1answer
114 views

Slavery, the Beautiful Captive, and Conversion [closed]

If I have a non-Jewish girlfriend and she has no interest in running through the hoops of an orthodox conversion, may I buy her as a slave and then free her, rendering her Jewish? Obviously, the ...