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Fighting Terrorism With Mitzvot? Get Real!

Fighting Terrorism With Mitzvot? Get Real!

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Question:

Rabbi, you're telling us that what we need is to light symbolic candles and do a mitzvah. We're talking about a very real threat to our people! We're talking survival of the fittest! Get real!

Response:

We Jews sure do mess up the "The survival of the fittest" theory. I mean, what are we doing here? The Egyptians, Persians, Babylonians, and Romans.... each of these ancient civilizations were once a super-power of the world. And each tried to destroy us. None of them are still around today. We are.

Mark Twain wondered about this. "What is the secret to their immortality?" he asked. But he couldn't answer. That's because he was looking for a logical answer. There isn't one.

Our survival is 100% supernatural. We have divine protection. A Biblical promise that we'll always exist. An everlasting covenant. And it is our Torah study and Mitzvah observance that strengthens this never-ceasing protection.

Only thing is, G‑d placed our supernatural people in a very natural world. He instructed us to do all the regular things regular people do to protect themselves. And so, security and other forms of self-defense are needed too. But in truth they are just the natural vehicle we put in place through which G‑d can provide His supernatural blessing.

Yes, there are two fronts in a war against evil: One takes place on a physical battlefield where Jews must take necessary precautions as well as urge our governments to recognize the absolute evil that exists and fight against terrorism.

But the most serious front is the supernatural one. This isn't symbolism. It's survival. Every additional Mitzvah makes the world a little bit brighter and our nation more secure.

Now allow me to quote Dennis Prager, who asked the simple question, of one billion Indians, why did the terrorists choose to target a tiny Jewish institution servicing India's smallest community? His answer:

"Statements from Chabad in reaction to the torture-murders of a 29-year-old Chabad rabbi and his wife called on humanity to react to this evil with random acts of kindness. Evil hates goodness. That's why the terrorists targeted a Chabad Rabbi and his wife."

BTW: We need your help. Pledge your Mitzvah today: MumbaiMitzvah.org

All names of persons and locations or other identifying features referenced in these questions have been omitted or changed to preserve the anonymity of the questioners.
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Sam Leon October 24, 2014

But HOW does our mitzvah affect this promise? I don't understand! Reply

Jason T Pyne Ottawa, Canada June 5, 2009

kindness i observed Sometimes we think we have to do some big thing when it comes to charity but the other day I watched a girl who was working in a coffee shop as she served a little old lady. She was smiling and happy and very helpful. She even got out from behind the counter and brought the elderly woman's muffin and coffee to the table. It sounds so simple but in this day and age kindness,respect for our elders, and charity aren't seen that often. No matter what religion we adhere to there will always be a higher law which we are all obligated to try and live up to. Reply

Yosepha Chicago, IL January 11, 2009

Thank you so much for writing this - it not only helped me realize how important it is to replace acts of evil with acts of kindness, but also showed just how important it is for us to remember our 'supernatural protection!' Thanks again! Reply

Saul December 28, 2008

To Phillip The point is, that we can change the future by our own actions toward and relationship with G-d. Yisroel was not speaking about "super-natural" powers, at least not the way you present them.

The use of dreams for divination, and other such practices, by the way, Phillip, is not an acceptable thing in Judaism. (We have a mystical part of Judaism, but contrary to popular American myth, Mysticism in Judaism is not this at all...)

Please do not spread fear by claiming that you have some supernatural power to see the future for NY Chabad houses...this is improper. Reply

ZELDA December 13, 2008

The existance of Chabad in the world the world would be empty without Chabad. They help us Jews to get in touch with our Jewish origin, to get to know the power of Torah and Mitzvoth. This power enlightens us, our souls, and we spread our kmowledge and "Judaism" to other Jews. This is what keeps us alive..keeps us united! We honor G-d and live the Torah....we will ALWAYS survive because we know who we are. Thank you Chabad! Reply

Gamaliel Isaac New York, NY December 11, 2008

God helps those who help themselves Chabad has to improve its security. I understand the need to be open and welcoming to visiting Jews but we are all aware of the dangers and appreciate security. If there is a terrorist attack they need to be slowed down enough so people can get out. There has to be more than one way to get out of the building. There have to be hiding places. There have to be metal doors. There have to be window bars. There have to be guns in Chabad. This is the tragic truth. Reply

Phillip Bloomingdale, IL December 10, 2008

Warning for Chabad Houses I believe the Rabbi is correct, there is a supernatural element to these attacks. I have had a dream in which a group of angels warn that Chabad houses will be in danger and must be watched, especially in New York City , USA.
This attack and killing of innocent calls to my mind how important Chabad houses are to spreading knowledge of Jewish culture and of Laws of the Holy One. Please carry on your important work. Be safe. Reply

Ruth Tokyo, Japan December 10, 2008

Survival of fittest! Chabad Lubavitch is the survival of fittest! Reply

Rosina Panama December 10, 2008

Fighting Terrorism How quickly we forget; Imagine Joshua telling us to walk around a country seven times for six days and on the seventh day walk around it seven times and we would witness its destruction, or to come against an army of people who had weapons; with a group of musicians singing; "Praise YAH for HE is GOOD and HIS Kindness endures for ever" We today would say " What!! get real!!" Yet it defeated nations!!! Reply

Chaya Gross Jerusalem, The Holy Land December 10, 2008

Jews have more responsibility As Jews we have more responsibility to make the world a better place, simply because we are closer to the Source. What that means is that we need desperately to spread the 7 Noahide Laws to mankind. My very strong feeling is that is must begin with the women uniting to say ENOUGH! We Jewish women must unite with the women of Mumbai and begin a massive educational program FIRST TRHOUGH THE WOMEN. Only this way can we begin to bring sanity back to this world.
It is written that the first redemption came through the women and so too, the final redemption. The time is now. One of the basic tenets of the Noahide Laws it NOT TO KILL. No civilized world can exist if we do not follow these 7 basic universal laws and as Jews it is our responsibilty to teach them actively and immediately. Women unite, the redemption of the world depends on us. May be overwhelming, but none the less true. Reply

shlomo dror Jerusalem December 9, 2008

the secret of Jewish survival What a beautiful answer, illuminating in a totally convincing way.

I love the Jewish people, and CHABAD is where I learned the value of this mitzvah and all the others. Thank G-d for CHABAD. Reply

dennis gronim brooklyn, ny December 9, 2008

good deeds are the solution A person must see himself and the world as equally balanced on two ends of the scale; by doing one good deed, he tips the scale and brings for himself and the entire world redemption and salvation -- Maimonides, Laws of Repentance, 3:4

Evil is simply the absence of good; it has no real existence of its own, and is dispelled in the light of goodness -- the Rebbe Reply

David Baltimore, MD December 9, 2008

Fighting terrorism The Talmud, Sanhedrin, teaches that king Chizkia was a potential Mashiach. Indeed, there is even one opinion, albeit rejected, that he WAS the Mashiach. The Talmud goes on to tell us that it was because of Chizkia's powerful insistance on Torah study that led to a spiritual revolution, and ultimately to God granting the generation miraculous salvation against a world superpower enemy. Thus, we see the mataphysical action-reaction that improved Torah study and mitzva observance brings.
Yet, the same Talmud teaches that God wanted to bring the Assyrian's to attack Israel. The Maharsha explains that God wanted to display his omnipotence to the world via Jewish national victory vs. their national enemies. But God knew that Chizkia would say "Don't bring them here, and don't bring me the reward for our ultimate victory against them." That is, as great as Chizkia was, he seemed too "content" when it came to YEARNING to see the downfall of the enemy for God's honor's sake. Reply

Amir December 8, 2008

Security Measures Security measures are necessary, especially in countries where security threat is at ground zero. In all parts of India, Security was taken lightly especially in southern part of India. There was a bomb attack in Banglore, first ever threat in southern part of India. We must not take security lightly. Chabad house must have some support from the government in their respective countries.

Whether Chabad houses are in Arab countries, or any part of the world, Security measures must be ensured. And it is good that Rabbis are well prepared before serving others. I hope i can contribute ideas to protect Chabad houses. Please do not take security lightly. Mumbai incident is a lesson and should not be forgotten or forsaken. And such things should not happen again. Reply

sarah ottawa, canada December 8, 2008

Beefing up security? One of the news articles on cnn.com reported that managers of both hotels that were targeted in the Mumbai attacks were tipped off in advance of the impending terrorist attack and had beefed up their security. Yet hundreds were killed in those hotels, despite the warning and despite the added security. When you are dealing with the kind of terrorists that these people are, it's not about "looking both ways before crossing the street". With this kind of terrorism, faith in G-d is the only way to live your life. Extra precautions are important but never should we fool ourselves into believing that this is our security. G-d is our only security. Reply

Christina Jacksonville, Florida December 8, 2008

my prayers are with you i just want ya'll to know, from my little corner of the world, that we're not all like this Reply

Yosef Philadelphia, PA December 8, 2008

Why we look both ways before crossing a street. Yes we trust in God. However, we look both ways before crossing a street. God does not want us to rely on miracles. Therefore we look both ways before street crossing. In this era of Islamic terrorism directed against Jews, more widespread gun ownership and self-defense training for Jews is complimentary, not contrary, to belief in God. Reply

Greatful for Jews! USA December 8, 2008

Praise G-d! May all love Torah, I am not Jewish and have wished I was for some time now. I have been envious of those Jews that were born Jewish. I studied with the Muslims for some time. There are ways to combat those groups within them that are terrorists, and one of those ways is through upholding your laws and making known that G-d is now and always will be your first thoughts. Many Muslims are taught that you no longer follow G-d. There are groups that simply don't know who you are as people, both Christian and Muslim. I would love to see the Jews making a world show of the preciousness of the truth that G-d entrusted them with. It might enrage some groups, but would make a strong show to them that you will fight to live G-d's commandments. It would show your great strength through Him and the covenant He gave to the Jews whom I have grown to love, with my own limited knowledge of them, even.Praise G-d for Torah, Rabbis, and Jews ( priesthood to the nations).May all learn His laws by you! Reply

dennis gronim brooklyn, ny December 8, 2008

baal shem tove Daily Teachings of the Baal Shem Tov:
[The Baal Shem Tov taught]: A person's thoughts should be on the Supernatural World, engaged in Divine service [and not sunken in mundane matters]. One should attach himself to G-d and trust that he will obtain whatever he needs. (Tzava'as HaRivash 24). Reply

YH December 7, 2008

the Rebbe said The Lubavitcher Rebbe said that merely talking with our Arab enemies, not to mention giving away parts of our Holy Land, endangers millions of Jewish lives in Israel and all over the world.

As the Chabad house in Mumbai was under siege, the government of Israel planned on throwing Jews out of their legally owned property in Chevron. Following the massacre in Mumbai, those Jews in Chevron were evicted, brutally, by Jews.

What are we doing about this? Reply

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