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אֵין הַמֶּלֶךְ נִלְחָם תְּחִלָּה אֶלָּא מִלְחֶמֶת מִצְוָה.‏
וְאֵי זוֹ הִיא מִלְחֶמֶת מִצְוָה?‏
זוֹ מִלְחֶמֶת שִׁבְעָה עֲמָמִים. וּמִלְחֶמֶת עֲמָלֵק.‏
וְעֶזְרַת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִיַּד צָר שֶׁבָּא עֲלֵיהֶם.

A priori, the king does not go to fight other than a War of Mitzvoh (Mandatory War). What is a War of Mitzvoh? This is the war against the Seven Nations30 or the war against Amalek or any war to assuage Israel of a persecutor. (Rambam Melachim 5)

Here Rambam speaks of a King and how he handles the two types of war. But what about times when there is no king?

What kind of Jewish government is needed for the obligatory/defensive war (Milchemet Chova) to be officially and Halachicly "Milchemet Mitzvah"?

  • Does it have to be a kingdom with a Jewish king? (for example, Yehoshua (and till Saul) wasn't anointed officially as a king)
  • Can it be under a cooperative government (aka the State of Israel's democracy)
  • Can it be under Gentile government (as in the Purim story), or if this C"V would happen in today's France against the Jews?
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  • Based on the many talks that the Lubavitcher Rebbe had discussing about conducting defensive wars in the state of Israel even to the extent of violating Shabbat with pre-emptive strikes, it would appear not...unless you wish to claim that a King of Israel from the house of David was already present, soul dressed in a physical body, when the Rebbe was talking and writing about this subject so long ago. ;-) May 8, 2019 at 16:53
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    For Milchemet Mitsva no king and no government is needed, but for Milchemet Hareshut its needed. See chinuch 425 for Milchemet mitsva and 527 for milchemet hareshut
    – kouty
    May 9, 2019 at 2:23
  • @kouty Can you pinpoint to the exact words that Chinuch understood in Rambam that answer the question, please, and maybe post it as an answer.
    – Al Berko
    May 9, 2019 at 18:49
  • I understand this by the difference between Tnae Hamitsva of Milchemet Mitsva and Reshut.
    – kouty
    May 9, 2019 at 18:52
  • @kouty BTW he doesn't speak of Mil. Chovah in general, only 7 nations as a specific Mitzvah, how about self-defence, or i'm missing something?
    – Al Berko
    May 9, 2019 at 18:54

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Meiri (Sotah 42) clearly writes that a melech isn't necessary for a milchemes mitzvah אמר המאירי כל מלחמה שמלכי ישראל או מנהיגיהם נלחמים עם אויביהם הן מלחמת מצוה כגון מלחמת שבעה עממין ומלחמת עמלק ומלחמה עם כל צר הבא עליהם להשחית נחלתם הן מלחמת הרשות כגון מלך שנלחם מרצונו עם שאר העמים אם להרחיב את גבולו אם להרבות בגדולתו ולהוסיף כבוד על שמו

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