Don't Rely on Miracles

Dedicated in memory of Yoni Siegal z""l

Parshat Ki Tetze, Devarim 23:10 states: "Ki tetze machaneh al oyvecha v'neeshmarta mikol davar ra". "When you go out to encamp against your enemies take precautions from every evil thing." Sentence 15 continues "For HaShem your God is moving within your camp to save you and to defeat your enemies before you so your camp must be holy".

The first words of our Parsha, Devarim 21:10 state: "Ki tetzei lemilchama al oyvecha unetano HaShem Elokecha biyadecha v'shavita shivyo", "If you should go to war against your enemies and God puts them in your hand and you capture prisoners from them".

There is a difference in the wording between these two phrases. In Devarim 23:10 it says "Ki tetzi machaneh", "When you should go out to encamp", while in Devarim 21:10 it says "Ki tetze lemilchama", "If you should go to war".

Why does the Torah choose to use the word "machaneh" in reference to holiness as opposed to "milchama" which is used earlier? According to Sifrei D'bei Rebbe's comment on the Sifrei, the holiness comes from the group going out as a "machaneh". When the nation is at war, a large group should go out together in order to protect and strengthen each other. We should not send just a few soldiers in at a time relying on a miracle.

During all of Israel's wars, including this past one, we have seen many examples of soldiers going out of their way to help and protect each other. This has brought a tremendous amount of Kiddush HaShem, sanctification of God's name. There is a unique holiness that exists in the Israeli army.

However, we must not forget the three missing soldiers Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev who were kidnapped at the beginning of the war. There is not a bus stop or billboard in Israel that does not have a picture of one or all of these soldiers in order to raise awareness of the fact that we can not sit still until we know where they are. We must all do our part and continue to petition their safe return.