The Battles We Fight Each Day

In Parshat Matot, Bamidbar 31:21, after the soldiers returned from the war with Midian the pasuk says: “Elazar HaCohen said to the soldiers who came to the war (habaim lamilchama): This is the statute of the Torah which God commanded Moshe…”


Why does it say that the soldiers “came to the war” if the war with Midian was already over? Shouldn’t it say that the soldiers “came from the war”?


Rabbi M.M of Kotzk answers that the physical war with Midian was over, but now they will begin to embark on a new war, a spiritual war against the inclination to transgress the mitzvoth of the Torah.


Yitav Lev adds that after a victory the soldiers may become haughty and therefore they will have to pay special attention to work on fighting this haughtiness. In the next few psukim, we learn about purifying utensils (hagalat kelim). Just as we have to remove the impure and unkosher from the utensils, so too do we have to take out any haughtiness in our character.


Shaar Bat Rabim answers the question of the Ramban of why we weren’t commanded in purifying utensils after the battles of Sichon and Og which took place previously. The answer is that in the battle against Midian, Moshe sent 12,000 soldiers who were carefully selected based on their righteousness. There was therefore more of a chance for them to get haughty. By being taught about purifying their vessels, they received the covert message that they must remove negativity and pollution from their souls.


Each victory against evil is a time to rejoice, but we must remember that the salvation is from God and instead of becoming haughty, we should look for more places to help continue to make the world a better place.


Plant a Tree in Israel!