27 December 2011

The Master of War

1 Tevet 5772
Rosh Chodesh Bet
7th candle of Hanukah

From the Song at the Sea: "Hashem is Master of War, through His name Hashem,..."

From the brachot before Shema: "For He alone effects mighty deeds, makes new things, is Master of wars,..."

From the Al Hanisim Prayer: "And for the wars that you did for our fathers in those days at this time."

At this season when we contemplate the wars between the Chashmonayim and the Syrian-Greeks and the Chashmonayim and the Hellenistic Jews, I'm pondering what it means to say that Hashem is the Master of Wars.

It occurs to me that we enter a war at our birth and it doesn't end until we die. We war with the yetzer hara, with our baser instincts and poor character traits. We war with those who desecrate G-d's name and who pervert the faith of our fathers. Or, rather, we should, but war has been given a bad name in today's society even while evil never ceases its war against righteousness.

We were born into a war and we can't abandon it even for a minute or we bare our unprotected souls to the enemy's onslaught. When Mashiach comes, he will finish the wars for all time. Until that day comes, Hashem is directing the wars of the world, as the Master of Wars. It is HE who decides who wins and who loses and all to bring about the final destiny of His people Israel.