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Shabbat Parashat Shemot 5780

Parashat Hashavua: Service in the Israeli Army and Lineage part III

Harav Yosef Carmel

We have been dealing, over the last couple of weeks, with the possibility that David had officers in his army who were not Jewish or not of Jewish lineage. The gemara posits that at least Itai HaGiti came to the army as a non-Jew, although it is possible that he converted later.

This week we will investigate the important opinion of the Rambam, one of the only poskim who wrote extensively even on matters that were not operative in his times, including the workings of the Israelite army. In his Commentary on the Mishna, he explains the importance of soldiers being Jewish: “so that their merit and the merit of their fathers will help them.” However, there is no mention of such a concept in the Yad Hachazaka, his code on Halacha. Apparently, he posited that the opinion that participation in David’s army is an indication of Jewishness is not accepted according to Halacha. We will prove the Rambam’s opinion on this topic from two additional directions.

Someone asked R. Avraham the son of the Rambam (Shut 25) about the lineage of Doeg Ha’Adomi and Uriya HaChiti. R. Avraham says they were geirim (usually translated as converts), and cites his father as saying that Uriya was a ger toshav (one who does not convert fully to Judaism, but rather accepts upon himself enough mitzvot to be allowed to live in the Land). (This opinion has fascinating consequences regarding the relationship between David and Uriya’s wife, Batsheva. However, that topic is far beyond our present scope.)

The question that now begs an answer is: according to the Rambam, what ensured success in the battles of David’s army? The answer can be found in the Rambam’s Yad Hachazaka (Melachim 7:15). He writes that when one is in the process of waging battle, “he should lean on the Savior of Israel and know that he is fighting on behalf of the united Name of Hashem. He should not think about his wife or children … Whoever fights with all his heart without fear and his intention will be to sanctify His name is promised to not have any damage.” He brings corroboration from Avigail’s praise of David for his dedication to fight “Hashem’s wars” (Shmuel I, 25:28-29).

It follows that according to the Rambam, success in battle is not based on the merit of one’s forefathers but on the merit of his belief in Hashem, reliance on Him, pushing off personal thoughts, and his intention to sanctify Hashem’s Name. (Thank you to my talmid Rabbi Adam Friedman for making the connection.) That is the key to victory in every generation.

Let us pray that in our generation, the generation of the beginning of the redemption, we will merit that the soldiers of the IDF, who endanger their lives to protect our people and our communities, will be disciples of David and will sanctify Hashem’s name with their behavior.

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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

 

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Refael Yitchak ben Chana

Netanel Ilan ben Sheina Tzipora

Netanel ben Sarah Zehava

Meira bat Esther

Yair Menachem ben Yehudit Chana

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

Lillian bat Fortune

Yafa bat Rachel Yente

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

Esther Michal bat Gitel

Yehudit Sarah bat Rachel

 

Together with all cholei Yisrael

 

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

those who fell in wars

for our homeland

 

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

 

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10 5771    

 

Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

Tishrei 9   5776

 

Mr. Shmuel Shemesh  z"l
Sivan 17 5774

 

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8   5776

 

Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10      5774

 

Rav Asher Wasserteil z"l

Kislev 9  5769

 

RMeir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l

 

RYaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l

 

Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13 5778

 

Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23 5777

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton)

Polin z"l

Tamuz 19   5778

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 5779

 

Mrs. Shirley Rothner,

Sara Rivka bat Yaakov Tzvi HaCohen z”l

Tevet 15 5768

 

Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l

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