The Rambam in Melachim 5:1 says that one of the cases of Milchemes Mitzvah is coming to the aid of Jews being attacked by an enemy.

Does that mean that the war in Gaza (declared on 07/10/2023) is a Milchemes Mitzvah? What practical differences does this Halachic status create on Jews around the world, if it is a Milchemes Mitzvah?


2 Answers 2


R Shlomo Aviner rules this war is a milchemes mitzvah (Headlines Podcast #441 at 49:44).

According to the Ramban, protecting the land is a mitzvah. According to the Rambam protecting is a mitzvah, even without Sanhedrin and prophets. It is a mitzvah to save Jews and save the land.

R Yitzchak Breitowitz rules similarly (as you can hear on this podcast right after the 5-minute mark)

... One type of a milchemes mitzvah is one to protect the Jewish people against an enemy seeking their destruction ... under any definition, Hamas is such an enemy. It clearly falls in the category of a milchemes mitzvah ...

I would also note this particular war is a defensive war, one where Israel was attacked on its own land and is trying to protect against further attacks (be they rockets or by land). Israel explicitly mentioned they were not looking to conquer Gaza.


According to rambam you need a melech so it won’t be a milchemet mitzvah

  • 4
    This would be more useful with a precise citation
    – mbloch
    Commented Nov 30, 2023 at 6:33
  • 1
    Rambam hilchos melachim perek 5 Halacha 1 Sefer hamitzvot shabsi frenkel edition page 202
    – Josh
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 13:20
  • 1
    This is not what the Rambam writes there, he writes that a King should wage milkhemet mitzva before other wars. The Rambam writes doesn't write that only a King can wage a milchemet mitzva. And indeed modern poskim have spoken of wars in Israel as milkhmet mitsva - as the Rambam describes it: "a war fought to assist Israel from an enemy which attacks them."
    – mbloch
    Commented Dec 1, 2023 at 13:28
  • 1
    But if you look at the source in Sefer hamitzvot over there it’s clear that you need a king
    – Josh
    Commented Dec 2, 2023 at 23:24
  • 1
    I wonder if anyone has sources from poskim that are not religious Zionist about these wars being a milchemet mitzvah
    – Josh
    Commented Dec 2, 2023 at 23:26

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