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 ...
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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 ...
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16 votes

How do soldiers in the IDF obey Deuteronomy 23:13?

The English term for this tool is an entrenching tool. Here it is described as standard issue gear for a paratrooper in the IDF. As far as I know, it is pretty standard, when required, for soldiers ...
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14 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 ...
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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.
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9 votes
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The Spies Mentioning Amalek

The impetus for the drasha in the medrash is specifically because the first nation the spies mentioned was amalek, and as the ikar sifsei chachamim explains why not mention the amori and chiti who ...
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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 ...
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8 votes
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What is the Jewish position on aggressive acts of war?

Milchemet Reshut, an optional and/or permitted war, is the term describing offensive wars. It stands in contrast to Milchemet Mitzvah, war by commandment, which describes defense war. The two terms ...
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8 votes

Mosaic Law and ISIS

אם בא להרגך - השכם להרגו - literally: If someone is coming to kill you, rise early and kill him (במדבר רבה פרשה כא פסקה ד; מדרש תנחומא, פנחס, פרק ג‏. - Medrash) Also, scripture is replete with ...
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8 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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7 votes
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Did the Israeli soldiers who were involved in Operation Protective Edge eliminate any parts of davening?

Last night, i asked this question of someone who served in the war. He said that when they were in the field, there was no time for davening, and he didn't say that they said the extremely short ...
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7 votes
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Pirates and Torah

Off the top of my head, I can think of two Talmudic passages you might apply here. Sanhedrin 16a -- a state of war, to a degree: נכנסו חכמי ישראל אצלו אמרו לו אדונינו המלך עמך ישראל צריכין לפרנסה אמר ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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6 votes

Which tehillim are best to say for the welfare of soldiers at war?

While I am not aware that there is any authoritative list, It seems that among several that are coomonly said is Tehillim 121. I believe this was chosen as a general Tehillim to be said for people ...
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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 ...
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  • 20.5k
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 ...
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6 votes
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Is there any tradition in Rabbinical sources regarding the conquering of Jerusalem by Pompey?

(The Talmud is aware of the Hasmonean civil war, by the way; it's mentioned in passing in Bava Kama 82b: כשצרו בית חשמונאי זה על זה היה הורקנוס מבפנים ואריסטובלוס מבחוץ) As for Pompey, it's in ...
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6 votes

How did the Jewish people understand and make sense of the destruction of the Second Temple?

Judaism was able to survive the destruction of the Second Temple because Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai set up an academy in Yavne where Torah could be taught and a generation of sages figured out how to ...
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6 votes
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What is the modern Jewish attitude towards the Zealots and Sicarii?

The Talmud (Gittin 56a) relates the following about the Zealot-Pharisee relationship: The biryoni [presumed to be Zealots] were then in the city. The Rabbis said to them: Let us go out and make ...
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  • 34.8k
6 votes

What do our Rabbis say about wearing a poppy in the button-hole on Armistice Day?

There are Orthodox Rabbis in London who wear poppies and go along to Remembrance Ceremonies and even recite prayers in them. The poppy is not a form of idolatry but is instead a symbol of "respect" ...
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6 votes

where do we learn about the importance of Ahavat Yisrael?

I think the sources you are referring to are: Yerushalmi Pe'ah, 1, 1 Bemidbar Rabbah 19, 1 Midrash Tanchuma Bemidbar, 19, 4 Devarim Rabbah 5, 10 Here's an example from the Yerushalmi (they're all ...
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6 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 ...
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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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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