I've had comments here and I've read comments elsewhere defending the concept of a "Holy" IDF. Now, I have not spoken against the IDF or the soldiers. But, on this subject of the IDF being "holy", I disagree with many good Jews. A couple of things inspired this blog post tonight. Here is one of them...
Complaints surfaced on Wednesday about rabbis who gave motivational speeches of a religious nature to soldiers at staging areas for the ground operation in Gaza.
...A reservist who had participated in the recent campaign spoke to Reshet Bet and said that although soldiers were not obligated to listen to the rabbis’ speeches they were nevertheless given in general communal areas.
...Rabbi Eliezer Shenvald, dean of the Modi’in Hesder Yeshiva and a colonel in the IDF Reserves, rejected the criticism....
Shenvald said that soldiers were not in any way required to listen to the speeches and that anyone who wanted to leave could do so.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit also stated that soldiers were free to decide if they wished to attend the talks.
“These complaints come from extremists in our society who just want to find a reason for an argument,” said Shenvald, and claimed that such objections came from “sectors of society who used to but now no longer dominate the officer corps.”Individually, the Jewish soldiers who are faithful to Hashem and to the Covenant which binds us to Him are holy, as is every other Jew, whether a soldier or not. Being a soldier does not confer a special exalted status except in nationalistic, militaristic cultures.
But, the IDF as a whole - it can't be holy because it is full of tumah - heretics and goyim. At last report, a full 20% of the IDF took its oath on a new testament! This is not the army of Yehoshua who carried the ark of the covenant and wore tefillin into battle. THAT was a holy Jewish army!
I have to tell you something I heard this evening from the source, but I won't use names so as not to detract from the reward for the mitzvah. I heard about a group of kids who wrote letters and gathered treats to distribute to the holy defenders of Am Yisrael and do you know where they went to pass them out? A yeshivah!! Yes, these Torah learners are no less responsible for the defense and protection of Am Yisrael than the fighters in the field. And it was felt that the learners deserved recognition for their efforts no less than the fighters. We heard a lot about this kind of activity all across the country for the soldiers, but this is the only case I've heard about at a yeshivah. Kol hakavod to the holy rabbi and his holy rebbetzin who carried it out!
THIS is how you bring true achdut to Am Yisrael, by recognizing and appreciating each Jew for his unique contribution to the klal. When every Jew is seen as an integral part of the whole, as a necessary and vital element in the overall scheme of our life and destiny, then you have true achdut and not just a paltry patriotism which legitimizes half the population while delegitimizing the other half.
This afternoon, I went into Jerusalem to shop and when I got off of the bus at the Central Bus Station, there was a table set up where pretty young girls were selling T-shirts and handing out blue and white ribbons. It drew my attention and I went over with the intention of perhaps buying some for my grandchildren to wear. It said something like "Being strong - together" across the top. Ok. And then I read the bottom and it said, "Depend on the IDF." My heart sank. This is exactly what we don't want to be saying and thinking. All of the credit for our survival and salvation belongs to ONE - HKB"H. And we must never, ever think or allow anyone else to think that we can rely on any other - not the government, not the IDF, not the police, not our employer, no one except HKB"H.
The IDF on its own, without Hashem, is nothing! We, on our own, without Hashem, are nothing!
You know, sometimes, I'd like nothing more that to be able to stop struggling upstream all the time and just kick back and go with the flow. A time will come for that someday, but right now, we are in a battle for the hearts and minds of the Children of Israel and our success or failure will determine the amount of suffering we are all going to have to endure until the end finally arrives. Hashem yerachem.