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19 votes
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Tisha b'Av and the First World War

The historian Ismar Elbogen in his "Century of Jewish Life", which he wrote before he passed away in 1943 and was published posthumously, places the beginning of the war on Tisha B'Av of 1914. But I ...
jake's user avatar
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17 votes
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Historically, were women trained for obligatory wars? Or did they serve some other military function?

In his commentary to Rambam's codification of this law (Hilchot Melachim 7:5), R. David Ibn Zimra asks: “Is it the way of women to wage war?” And he cites the verse (Psalms 45:14) "All glorious ...
Alex's user avatar
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16 votes

Is there a Jewish way of war?

There is indeed a Jewish way of war. See Rambam's Mishne Torah Melachim uMilchamot chapter 6 and to some extent 7 and 8. Some of the key principles are propose a peaceful settlement first (except for ...
mbloch's user avatar
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11 votes

Historically, were women trained for obligatory wars? Or did they serve some other military function?

Yachin there: אשה לאו בת מלחמה. רק לספק מזון ולתקן הדרכים אף היא יוצאת. ‏ A woman is not able to combat, she did only provide food and repair roads.
kouty's user avatar
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11 votes
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What should one do to help Israel during war?

HaRav Asher Weiss shlita sent out a clip (in Hebrew) with divrei chizuk and hisorerus on his WhatsApp group (to join - https://chat.whatsapp.com/JSImuTgfWWlEGjwwqgvFSO). It is also now on Torah ...
Dov's user avatar
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10 votes
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The Halachic Reasoning Behind the Neturei Karta

This question is far too broad to answer here but the essence of what they follow is based upon the teachings of Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum. There are two primary sources that lay out their approach. The ...
Yaacov Deane's user avatar
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9 votes

If don't aspire to be a general cannot be a simple soldier

This saying is quoted in the name of the Chafetz Chaim on multiple websites: Here's a video in which Rabbi Ovadyah Yosef zt"l says it in his name (from 19:14). And the story is likewise told in ...
Harel13's user avatar
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9 votes

Was it David's custom to go into battle without an armour?

I wrote an essay a couple of years ago that dealt, in part, with these questions. The answer to your first question is: Yes and no. David's military uniform depended on which weapon he was using in ...
Harel13's user avatar
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9 votes

Is taking an Eshet Yefat To'ar allowed today?

R Eliezer Melamed (here) addresses your question and writes it is not in effect anymore In any event, seeing as the heter of eshet yefat toar is against the evil inclination so as to regulate the ...
mbloch's user avatar
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8 votes

Why G-d didn't reveal the Israelis a recipe for gunpowder?

God didn't give the Jews a super weapon because he was the super weapon. The covenant with the Jews is that if the Jews keep the Torah, God will protect them. If God gives them all machine guns with ...
Clint Eastwood's user avatar
8 votes

Why G-d didn't reveal the Israelis a recipe for gunpowder?

Besides for the fact that G-D could have helped the Jewish people conquer Israel using 'natural' methods in a quicker manner without giving them futuristic technology, the premise of the question that ...
Salmononius2's user avatar
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7 votes
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Did the Jewish soldiers fast before war?

As it turns out, I think my father-in-law found the answer in שולחן ערוך אֹרח חיים, תקע״א (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, Taf Kuf Ayin Aleph) עִיר שֶׁהִקִּיפוּהָ עַכּוּ''ם, וְכֵן יָחִיד הַנִּרְדָּף ...
ejgreenwald's user avatar
7 votes
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Responsa/Rabbinic Thought on Israeli Reprisal Operations

Rabbi Shaul Yisraeli wrote a lengthy essay on the subject shortly after Qibiya, published in his book עמוד הימיני, pp. 113-139. He first noted: "מאז נסתיימה המלחמה ה"רשמית" של מדינות ...
Harel13's user avatar
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7 votes

What should one do to help Israel during war?

HaGaon HaRav Moshe Shternbuch spoke about the recent events to his talmidims. He said that: “Each one should go learn because every little bit of limmud Torah can provide salvation. The danger is ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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7 votes

Is the war to protect the State of Israel from attacks from terrrorists a Milchemes Mitzvah

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, ...
mbloch's user avatar
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7 votes

New responsa on releasing terrorists in exchange for hostages?

Following on from our interaction in the comments. HaRav Asher Weiss shlita has a recording where he discusses the issues at length here.
Dov's user avatar
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6 votes

Was there ever a prophet that was also a military commander

Joshua was visited by a malach of extremely lofty level (though he might not have technically been a prophet). It's also written a few times that God spoke to Joshua, such as in Joshua 1:1-9, 4:2-3, ...
Seh Le'olah's user avatar
6 votes

Which of the Napoleonic wars had no casualties?

This is a reference to the Siege of Pressburg, also known as the Siege of Bratislava, in 1809, which was a little over a month-long Napoleonic campaign that ultimately failed (on Napoleon's part). I ...
Harel13's user avatar
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6 votes

When was the war with Amalek?

According to the Seder Olam Rabbah (Chapter 5) - it was during the week which started on the 23rd of Iyyar. There are other Rabbinic sources which indicate that the battle was on a Friday. Since the ...
Ari Kahn's user avatar
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6 votes
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Were Kohanim forbidden from serving in King David's army?

This is the subject of an old debate when it comes to kohanim giving conditional divorces. R. Mordechai Ben Hillel wrote that one cannot bring a proof from the fact that kohanim at war gave such ...
Alex's user avatar
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6 votes
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Malachim of Nations constantly fighting?

I haven't seen anywhere referring to them as "raging bulls". However, I have seen the concept that each nation has its own שר, making 70 שרים (see Sukkah 55b). They are the source for the ...
user6781's user avatar
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6 votes
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IDF ceremony on the Temple Mount

R Shlomo Goren and his autobiography (With might and strength) explains that he was at the Dome of the Rock the day it became liberated and saw it as a special one-time opportunity. He writes he went ...
mbloch's user avatar
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6 votes
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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's trip to Moscow on Shabbat to meet Putin

Short answer: there is a great deal of leeway when we're dealing with this scale of life. (Shabbos 42a talks about "so the public won't be damaged.") When Bennett began his term a while ago, ...
Shalom's user avatar
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5 votes

What is the connection between "sword and ... bow" (Genesis 48:22) with "prayer and ... supplication" (as rendered by Onkelos)?

The targum Yerushalmi reads, "not with my sword nor with my bow, but through my righteousness and my good works. " and this all might be explained by the Gemara in Bava Batra 123a: The baraita ...
rosends's user avatar
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5 votes

Did any rabbis address the theological possibility/implications of nuclear extinction?

The Vilna Gaon (quoted by Dayan Abramsky) famously said: "the war of Gog and Magog will last 12 minutes. A third of the world will die, a third will suffer from plague and a third will survive." ...
chortkov2's user avatar
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5 votes

Did any rabbis address the theological possibility/implications of nuclear extinction?

In a public address by Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe z"l (circa 1981), at which I was present, he told the crowd, that he can assure them that there will never be nuclear extinction. He explained, that he is ...
IsraelReader's user avatar
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5 votes

Why didn't Moses fight Amalek himself?

The Chizkuni on this pasuk explains that during a war, it is common practice for a leader to just "watch" the other men fight, while being positioned on a hill or mountain, to encourage the ...
Shmuel's user avatar
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4 votes

Why was Joshua allowed to break Shabbat in attacking Yericho?

Rashi indeed says that the 7th day of encircling Yericho was on Shabbos. Rashi on Yehoshua 6:15: "ביום השביעי" - שבת היה This siege was permitted on Shabbos for the Sake of Milchemes ...
user15464's user avatar
  • 11.5k
4 votes

Nebuchadnezzar II failure to conquer Egypt

Babylon defeated Egypt shortly after laying waste to Jerusalem. That is, the Babylonians first routed the Egyptian army at the Battle of Carchemish, and within 35 years, defeated Egypt proper. Writing ...
Joseph's user avatar
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4 votes

Source for story about the Maskilim's play mocking what the "orchei hamilchama" would look like according to chazal

This story is brought in the biography of R' Baruch Ber (pg. 130-131) by Rabbi Yitzchak Edelstein whose father was a student of R' Baruch Ber. He himself knew R' Baruch Ber when he was young and also ...
Harel13's user avatar
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