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12

When Yaakov was threatened with Esav and his 400 men (Genesis 32), he responded in three ways (as noted by Rashi to verse 9): He sent gifts. He prayed. He prepared for war. So yes, preparing for war certainly has a prominent place in Jewish ideology, right alongside diplomatic efforts and prayers to God. All three are important components of a proper ...


12

The relevant verse is I Chron. 22:8, where David quotes G-d as having told him: "You have spilled much blood, and waged great wars." Radak there explains that "much blood" refers to people whose deaths David caused indirectly but who didn't deserve this - such as Uriah, the kohanim of Nov, and non-Jewish civilians caught in the crossfire during his raids ...


9

There is a talk by the Lubavitcher Rebbe o.b.m. (in Likkutei Sichos, vol. 25, pp. 235ff, and adapted into English here) about this. The gist of his answer is that there was a more "physical" miracle (the military victory) and a more "spiritual" one (the Menorah's lights burning for eight days), and the latter in a sense overshadows the former, since the war ...


8

A complicated subject. See this post from bein din l'din blog. In some cases it's wisest not to mix in; Rosh is famous for saying that if you insert yourself into a fight between A & B, eventually A & B will forget whatever was going on between them, and together fight you.


8

About the events described in Maccabees, R. Yitzchak Isaac Halevi offers the following explanation (Doros Harishonim 1:340ff): These Jews hiding in the caves originally had no intention of waging war against the Greeks and their Jewish Hellenist allies, and no reason to think they'd be successful in doing so. But they figured that, while the Hellenists ...


8

The Chidushei HaGriz (§ 161) comments that the narrative between Shmuel and Shaul is a basis for the Rambam's opinion in 6:4. In verse 18, Sh'mu'el says that Sha'ul was told to destroy אֶת-הַחַטָּאִים אֶת-עֲמָלֵק: And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said: Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be ...


7

There's a translation of Machane Yisrael into English published as English-only (the original Hebrew is not included). It's Machaneh Yisrael (I mean, that's how they spell the title) and the copyright page reads: Authored by Rav Yisrael Meir HaKohen Zt"l The Chofetz Chaim Translated by Machon MEMEY 413 Ashley Ave. • Lakewood, NJ 08701 ...


7

Your suggestion is correct. "Took" refers to the animals, "captured" refers to the women and children, and "plundered" refers to the wealth and objects from their houses. See Malbim. Technically, everything was "in the city". I would suggest that the phrase "וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר בָּעִיר וְאֶת אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה" refers to the animals mentioned immediately before. ...


7

There are a number of books and websites (including shailot ve'tshuvot of recognized halachic authorities) on the topic of Halachot for Soldiers. I would strongly recommend anyone in this situation consult with your local Rabbi or posek. Below is a list of a few of the sources I know of: http://www.aka.idf.il/Main/rabanut/General.aspx?catId=60233 ...


7

In Chapter 25 we see that the Moabite women seduced some Israelites into temple prostitution. Therefore when God commanded Israel to raze the people of Midian he wanted the armies to kill the woman also and not take them as spoils of war. They did not do it at first but kept all the woman as booty. God was angry with them for that and then he makes it ...


7

The division of the land included, among other steps: sending out commissioners to survey it (Josh. 18:4ff) ...and to evaluate the worth of the individual regions and plots of land, to make sure that the division would be equitable (Rashi to Num. 26:54) designating which roads would be private vs. public, depending on their grade (Eruvin 22b) assigning a ...


6

Rabbi David Zvi Hoffmann, in Melamed le-Ho'il 42, was asked: At this time, in all places where Jews reside, [at the command] of the king and state every able bodied man has to enter the military and serve for one, two, or three years, and he will be compelled there to violate Shabbatot and Yamim Tovim. Is a Jew who fears God's word and observes all the ...


6

This law applies only when we dwell in Eretz Yisrael (end of Chinuch 532). Since at that time they didn't live in Israel, the law of yefas toar was not in effect. Postscript: I found this answer in Sifsei Chachamim to Rashi, Bemidbar 31:50, as well as another answer: That a yefas toar is only permissible in a milchemes reshus, but this was a milchemes ...


6

Pants: Rabbi Adin Shteinzaltz (Even-Yisrael) has written that there may be situations where pants are more modest than skirts, observing that Jewish Yemenite women traditionally wore skirts on top of pants. What I've heard is the general recommendation against pants are because they tend to be more form-fitting than skirts. I know religious women who have ...


6

The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l states (Likkutei Sichos, vol. 15, p. 269), based on his analysis of the relevant verses, that the one camp contained Yaakov's livestock and the people responsible for taking care of them, while the other contained his family. The point of this, the Rebbe explains, was that Yaakov was preparing for his prayer, in which he would, so ...


5

What's right or wrong is dependent on the will of God, which may differ in differing situations. King Saul had clearly been (by Samuel) told to kill all the animals, and he disobeyed. King David was given no such order; in fact, the Urim V'Tumim told him "go save!" (hatzel); the same language used in v.18, he "saved" that which had been taken. As to ...


5

From vv. 18-19, it seems that David only took back what the Amalekites had previously plundered (and per verse 16, that was from the Jews and, lehavdil, from the Philistines): יח וַיַּצֵּל דָּוִד, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר לָקְחוּ עֲמָלֵק; וְאֶת-שְׁתֵּי נָשָׁיו, הִצִּיל דָּוִד. יט וְלֹא נֶעְדַּר-לָהֶם מִן-הַקָּטֹן וְעַד-הַגָּדוֹל וְעַד-בָּנִים וּבָנוֹת, ...


5

The general rule of thumb for shabbat is that any action required for security related reasons (operation of jeeps, radio check ins, patrols, etc) during the week should be performed on shabbat as well. I.E. you shouldn't be lowering the level of security because it's shabbat. There are standing orders at all levels in the IDF which prevent the giving of ...


5

I think Isaac's nailed it, in a comment on the question: The average person's chances of chas veshalom getting killed in a terror attack today are, thank God, nowhere near the same league as those of someone who goes out to war. Two more points to consider: In the decade 2000-2010, there were b"H fewer than 1000 deaths by terrorism in Israel, a ...


5

Jews are obligated to attempt to make peace with any peoples they come against. We must offer the nation the option of accepting the Seven Noahide laws and being subject to a tax and subservience to us. Violent action is only taken if this treaty is not accepted. In most cases, all adult males are killed, while women and children are spared. Exceptions to ...


4

The question has been raised in contemporary times vis-a-vis Israeli soldiers. (And if I recall correctly from a lecture by Rabbi J D Bleich, Jewish soldiers in the British Army during WWII as well.) As Rabbi Bleich pointed out, in today's information era there are exceedingly few cases of people who outright disappear at war. (To prove his point, he asked ...


4

The Gemara in Sanhedrin (פ''ב ע''א) learns out from Parshas Balak that you may not bring a weapon into a Beis Hamedrash.But what is the law for a shul, is it the same? The proof against it being permitted is from Shulchan Aruch (אור"ח סי' קנ"א סעיף ו') where he brings that you may not bring a long knife. I am guessing that means sword. This is because ...


4

This reminds me of the political struggle going on during the life of the prophet Isaiah ben Amoz (Isaiah). If I recall correctly, at this point in history (around the 8th-7th Century B.C.,) Assyria has been expanding its power throughout the Middle East (and even as far as Egypt.) Along with this expansion, Assyria has invaded Israel under the command of ...


4

Minchas Chinuch 527 writes that the rules of any milchemes mitzva apply to Amalek: whether that means you allow them make peace before annihilating them is, he says, a machlokes rishonim.


4

The Gemora (Sanhedrin 41a) writes (cited partially by Rashi to Yehoshua 6:10) : ויאמר ה' אל יהושע קום לך . . אתה גרמת להם והיינו דקאמר ליה בעי ועשית לעי ולמלכה כאשר עשית ליריחו ולמלכה וגו' And Hashem said to Yehoshua, "Get up." . . Hashem said to him, You have brought [guilt] upon them. For that reason He said to him with reference to Ai: "And you ...


4

This question is based entirely on an assumption that "anyone living in Israel is in grave danger," but it cites no source to back this statement of fact up. On the contrary, here is a source that indicates that people living in Israel, in general, are not in grave danger. The US State Department issues Travel Warnings "when long-term, protracted conditions ...


4

Let's start with the captive. This only applies when the Kingdom of Israel is going to war. That has to be declared at the national level and has a particular legal status. As an individual I can't do "war", only "self-defense." What's more, Rambam Laws of Kings and Their Wars Ch. 8 spells out that the Jewish soldier is allowed to be with the captive one ...


4

One keeps the sabbath — abstains from certain activities and tries to engage in holy pursuits — from sundown Friday to nighttime Saturday, irrespective of his ability to perform the sabbath ceremonies. Such abstentions and pursuits may be subject to your commanding officers' restrictions on you; consult a rabbi for specific questions as they ...


4

"Shifting one's personal clock" and the like -- the example you gave was someone who finds himself in the wilderness and has no sense of what day it is -- the Talmud says he should start some sort of calendar and work with it. That's not applicable to the situation at hand, in which everyone agrees that it's now Friday January 31st 2014 and that sunset is at ...


3

Just a thought of my own... The verses here do not list 600 thousand names; they list different the different families in each tribe, headed usually by one of the direct children or grandchildren of Yaakov's twelve sons. Those sons had descended to Egypt over 200 years ago and in all likelihood most if not all of them were not alive anymore. It is unlikely ...



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