A Tribute to the Soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)


In Parshat Shoftim, Devarim 20:1-4 we read: When you go out to battle against your enemy, and you see horse and chariot- a people more numerous than you- you shall not fear them, for Hashem, your God , is with you, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt. It shall be that when you draw near to the war, the Kohen shall approach and speak to the people. He shall say to them: Hear, O Israel, you are coming near to the battle against your enemies; let your heart not to be faint; do not be afraid, do not panic, and do not be broken before them. For Hashem, your God, is the One Who goes with you, to fight for you with your enemies to save you.


Rambam explains that a person will naturally be afraid in battle if he lets his mind dwell on the dangers of war. Therefore it is better for the soldiers not to dwell on the dangers that are awaiting them.


Ibn Ezra says that “do not be afraid” refers to not being afraid inwardly, “do not panic” means that you shouldn’t panic and flee the battlefield and “do not be broken” connotes that your fear should not hamper your performance while you are fighting.


The Kohen declared that God is Israel’s warrior and that He would save them. However, Ramban points out that the officers of the people had the responsibility to prepare for battle and not expect miracles.


It is not a coincidence that each time we say the prayer for the members of the IDF we conclude with the words that were said by the Kohen: “Ki Hashem Elokechem Haholech imachem, lehilachem lachem im oyveychem lehoshia etchem.”


He who blessed our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov- may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Arava, on the land, in the air and on the sea. May Hashem cause our enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He preserve and rescue our soldiers from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor. May he lead our enemies under their sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is Hashem your God Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you. Now let us respond: Amen.


May our soldiers who work so hard to protect us each and everyday go from strength to strength!