Questions about armed conflict and armed services.

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15
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2answers
316 views

Can one join an army?

Is one allowed to join an army (let's say not the Israeli one) as doing so is putting oneself in a place of sakana? If one is not allowed to join an army in general, is one allowed to join an army ...
11
votes
3answers
381 views

Killing Civilians in a defensive war

In the recent Operation Pillar of Defense against Gaza, many Palestinian civillians were killed by Israeli air-strikes (the Palestines claim the number is as high as 158, while according to the IDF ...
11
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1answer
110 views

Were Avraham's tactics in rescuing Lot typical of the time?

Parshat Lech L'cha describes how Lot was captured in the battle of four kings against five kings. When Avraham heard, he mounted a night-time attack to rescue him. This got me wondering: was a ...
10
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2answers
420 views

Halachic Considerations for Women in the IDF

For a religious girl going into the IDF very soon, there are a few questions that are often asked: Especially in active units, wearing a skirt while on base can be a problem: While crawling, ...
10
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1answer
68 views

Description of what Yaakov's sons plundered from Shechem

Gen. 34:28-29 describes how Yaakov's sons plundered the city of Shechem after wiping out its (adult male) inhabitants: אֶת-צֹאנָם וְאֶת-בְּקָרָם וְאֶת-חֲמֹרֵיהֶם וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר בָּעִיר וְאֶת אֲשֶׁר ...
9
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1answer
156 views

Why was Shlomo more worthy to build the Beis Hamikdash than David?

We see throughout the Navi that David does not want people killed on his behalf (Saul, Ish Boshet...) yet he does not get to build the Temple and the most common reason that David is told no by Hashem ...
9
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1answer
103 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 ...
9
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3answers
226 views

Why was there a distinction made for women captives?

In Numbers 31, God tells the Israelites to wipe out the Midianites (and incidentally, Balaam) by killing every male. But they spared certain women (v17-18): Now therefore kill every male among the ...
9
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2answers
370 views

What is the appropriate response of someone outside Israel during a war?

During a war or large scale military operation what are some of the best things for a person living in chutz l'arertz to do? Is saying tehillim and doing extra chesed enough? Should a person run to ...
8
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2answers
99 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 ...
8
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1answer
569 views

Fighting Wars on Shabbat

As I mentioned in another question, I was reading the Book of Maccabees over Shabbat (I and II). In the book of Maccabees, it mentions that early on in the struggle, there were a group of Jews hiding ...
8
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2answers
511 views

Why didn't Shaul kill Agag?

As recorded in I Sh'muel (chapter 15), Shaul, the king, was told by the prophet to destroy the nation of Amalek from man to woman, youngster to suckling, ox to sheep, camel to donkey. So he ...
7
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2answers
225 views

What is the Jewish view on creating an army to defend ourselves against armies?

Jews over the last few thousand years have been persecuted mercilessly! Leaving out making a state for ourselves, is it the wrong haskafah to prepare ourselves with the fighting skills necessary to ...
7
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3answers
205 views

Why was Kozbi not an eshes yefas toar?

Why was Kozbi bas Tzur not considered an eshes yefas toar (a non-Jewish woman who is taken captive during wartime and is permitted to her captor) who would then be permitted to Zimri? This question ...
7
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3answers
170 views

Why does the census “of all who are able to go forth to war” include a few women?

The census in Bamidbar 26 is directed thus: Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers' houses, all that are able to go ...
7
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1answer
233 views

(Why) is the construction of the 3rd Temple necessary to restore peace in the world?

Is it essential to build the 3rd Temple to restore peace in the world? If so, why? And why can only the Messiah do this? And how should this goal be achieved in a way that keeps everyone happy?
7
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1answer
127 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 ...
7
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1answer
79 views

Why was Mesha king of Moav successful?

King Mesha of Moab fought against the kings of Yisrael, Yehuda and Edom (2 Melachim chapter 3). The navi Elisha prophecies, under oath, that the Jews will be successful. However at the end of the ...
7
votes
1answer
106 views

What is the correct kavanah when going to war?

I am specifically talking about going to war that is a mitzvah such as the wars fought while conquering Eretz Yisroel in the beginning of the Neviim and the mitzvah we have and will fulfill of ...
6
votes
3answers
193 views

Is the enemy of my enemy my friend? If so, which one?

I guess this is a two-part question. Are there any sources that support this common maxim? And if so, are there any sources that provide guidance on which enemy we now befriend? If one enemy ...
6
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3answers
190 views

Dovid haMelech and Amalek

In Shmuel Alef chapter 15 Shaul HaMelech (King Saul) loses his kingship because in his battle against Amalek he failed to kill King Agag and saved livestock to offer as sacrifices. Later we find ...
5
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3answers
142 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 ...
5
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2answers
86 views

Chanuka - what was the real miracle?

Was the miracle the fact that they found the oil? Was it that the oil lasted all 8 days? Was it that they won the war over the mighty greeks? From the fact that we light menorah, it seems that the ...
5
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1answer
58 views

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 ...
5
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0answers
215 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 ...
4
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2answers
348 views

English translation of Sefer Machaneh Yisrael

Is there an English translation (preferably online) of the Chofetz Chaim's sefer Machaneh Yisrael (a guide for Jewish army conscripts), or other English works on the same topic?
4
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2answers
96 views

Why did it take so long to conquer and divide the land?

We learn that Yehoshua took 7 years to conquer the land and another 7 to divide it. Why did both of these take so long? Conquest (at least from the details of the description in the text) took at ...
4
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1answer
47 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, ...
4
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1answer
113 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 ...
4
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1answer
54 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 ...
4
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1answer
92 views

How strong was Midian's army?

When Israel took vengeance on Midian they sent 12,000 troops (Numbers 31:4) and prevailed. We aren't told how numerous Midian was, only that the spoils includes 32,000 virgin women (31:35). This ...
3
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2answers
116 views

What's the reason for conquering the different nations in Joshua?

The first book of the prophets, Yehoshua, begins with God commanding Joshua to battle the various nations in Israel. Did these nations do any evil to the Jews prior? Or, was this simply the will of ...
3
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2answers
265 views

Should retroactive divorce (a la David & Batsheva) be reinstituted?

Almost all the commentaries on David and Batsheva's seeming indiscretion follow Rashi who points out during that time a retroactive divorce was given upon the husband leaving for war, therefore ...
3
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2answers
312 views

Shabbat restrictions in the Army

Are there any Shabbat restrictions in the army during basic training? If this is only basic training and not war-time is this still considered pekuach-nefesh?
3
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1answer
68 views

What was the composition of Yaakov's two camps?

In Parshat Vayishlach Yaakov divides his group into two camps so that if one is attacked the other might escape. How did he divide people between them? Did Leah go in one and Rachel in the other, ...
3
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1answer
56 views

Difference between the spoils in Yericho and Ai

Why by the plunder of Yericho (Yehoshua chapter 6) the Jews were forbidden to take anything, but by Ai they were commanded to take the spoils (Yehoshua 8:6)? Any insight would be appreciated.
3
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2answers
80 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 ...
3
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1answer
51 views

Yefat To'ar: Only for the Victors

Why does the Torah allow for a יְפַת תֹּאַר only in the case of a victory?
3
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1answer
123 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
103 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 ...
3
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0answers
54 views

Practical Halacha - Do the Israeli soldiers currently 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" ...
3
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0answers
53 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?
2
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2answers
115 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
141 views

Should one living in Israel leave?

The Torah commands us, ‘Venishmartem meod lenafshotechem' ['You shall take care exceedingly of your lives' — Deut. 4:15). It seems anyone living in Israel is in grave danger due to the recent ...
2
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1answer
132 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 ...
2
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1answer
83 views

Killing all of 'Amalek - Mitzvah or Reshuth?

This may be two questions that are closely related. Would engaging in war with 'Amalek without a specific command (a la Shaul) be a Milhemeth Mitzvah or Milhemeth Reshuth? Is killing all of 'Amalek ...
2
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1answer
370 views

Bringing a gun into a synagogue

Can you bring a gun into a synagogue? (The question is in reference to Israel.)
2
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1answer
52 views

Why did the people want a king?

Why did the people want a king? Why couldn't they just find another shofet? Can't also shofets lead in battle (Joshua, et al.)?
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2answers
87 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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2answers
153 views

Why did Moshe conquer the land of Og and Sichon?

Why did the Jews conquer the land of Og and Sichon? Mentioned in parshas chukas at the end of it. We see they didn't intend to inherit the land and settle there, since Moshe rabainu was very angry ...