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Letter & Spirit - Personal and Public Correspondence of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
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Send Us Your Letters Letter & Spirit - Personal and Public Correspondence of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

The Rebbe to Sharon: Don’t Leave the IDF!

The Rebbe to Sharon: Don’t Leave the IDF!

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By the Grace of G‑d
18 Menachem Av, 5730
[August 20, 1970]
Brooklyn, N.Y.

Greetings and blessing!

I gratefully acknowledge receipt of your letter of August 16. Due to the importance and urgency of the matter I am hastening to respond, especially regarding your letter’s ending.

As we discussed when you were here, it is my opinion that your proper place is in the IDF, and it is there that, with G‑d’s assistance, you are successful and will continue to be so. This is, of course, in addition to the fact that this will bring about benefit for the many—i.e., for the Jewish nation, the holy nation that dwells in the Land of Israel, the Holy Land—which G‑d has blessed you with the privilege of sucessfully protecting by means of your exceptional abilities, effort, vigor, etc.

For this reason, as I told you when you were here, you must absolutely and certainly continue to serve in this very important capacity and role. I strongly hope that even if there is someone [in the IDF] whose relationship with you could use change and correction, for whatever reason, he too will ultimately acknowledge your sincerity, your strong sense of responsibility and your commitment to your mission, to the extent that it is your very life.

Based on this, you can readily understand that my opinion is that it makes no sense at all for you to switch, G‑d forbid, to a different occupation, and most certainly not in the political arena, including to become a minister or the like, for that is not your mission, and it is not there that you will be able to utilize your talents and experience. In fact, quite the contrary.

In fact, would that Mr. —— had also not left the army. Although rumor has it that he was humiliated by others who broke their promise to him, etc., it is still not sensible for someone who was hurt to go cause himself additional harm. His departure from the army has harmed him, and likewise it harmed the army, which now cannot utilize his knowledge and skill. This would be true even if he had remained in the government; all the more so considering how things subsequently developed.

In general I do not meddle in army conduct, etc. But as a general observation, I consider it odd that when an amateur soldier, in whom only a few months of training was invested, wishes to leave the army, it is considered—rightfully—a serious offense. Yet when a general or the like—in whom training of the highest order was invested, as well as considerable energy, money, and so on—wishes to leave, the decision is left to him personally, even when he explicitly states that his considerations are of a personal nature, and even when it is certain that his absence will harm the army and, consequently, the general state of security!

The above is intended as a parenthetical remark. With regard to you, however, I have not the slightest doubt that your mission and your success is specifically in the army, especially now when you occupy a high-ranking position that is also vital to the security of the entire land. Of what consequence is a bit of personal discomfort or squabbling relative to the wellbeing and security of the general public?

All of the above is true even now, when there is no war. But, although in general I am not a pessimist, one cannot ignore the reality of what will emerge if, G‑d forbid, things continue along their current natural course. The enemy continues to strengthen and fortify itself on the other side of the Suez Canal. Despite all of Israel’s official protestations, the enemy utilizes each day to strengthen its military might, acquiring the best weapons, etc.—for there is no doubt that the United States will not enter a war with the Soviet Union over [these violations]. As for [Israel’s] demand and outcry, “How dare they not abide by their promise?” (and in reality, no one ever believed that they would not take advantage of the ceasefire [to reinforce themselves]; most certainly, the members of the Israeli government and the U.S. government never believed it, and the same is true of the Soviet Union, etc.—just as it was three years ago [before the Six-Day War], fourteen years ago [before the Suez crisis], and a number of times before then), these will continue and sharpen as long as possible, and in the end the Israeli government will resolve to maintain the status quo, as they always do in the end. From this it is understood that in all subsequent negotiations concerning peace—now that the enemy has reinforced itself, and so on—the Israeli side will have the disadvantage, because the state of security will have been utterly transformed between the day the ceasefire was put into effect and the end of the negotiations about the complaints and conditions, etc.

I’m afraid (or perhaps in some ways I should describe it as a hope of sorts) that, just as they did at the beginning of the Six-Day War, the enemy will again make a foolish move which will necessitate an annulment of the ceasefire agreement, and G‑d will once again perform miracles and wonders, that immediately after annulling the ceasefire and restarting [Israel’s] self-defense—the sole definition of which [in this context] is to go on the offensive—[Israel] will mobilize all its resources and not enact half-measures as until now, but rather act in true defense, and then there is hope that enemy fire would cease permanently and we’d come finally to true peace! Unlike the current situation in which, as mentioned above, the path being followed is one that leads directly to renewed war, G‑d forbid, but in conditions far, far worse than they were on the day of the ceasefire agreement.

The above elaboration comes in response to your writing that what I wrote you regarding the Canal, etc., is too late. I suspect that in the not-so-distant future the matter will become relevant once again. Would that my assessment turns out to be incorrect; but, judging by current developments, this does not seem likely in the natural order.

I was pleased to be informed by our mutual friend Mr. —— that matters are well with you and your family. May it be G‑d’s will that we should finally hear tidings of true peace in the land, which certainly will not come about by showing signs of weakness and eagerness to make broad compromises and concessions, as is being done in the current negotiations, as even the newspapers are now publicizing. Quite the contrary. As the saying goes, if one truly desires peace, then he must demonstrate that he is even prepared for the opposite, with the utmost intensity and under the most advantageous conditions.

With esteem and blessing.

May we hear good news.

P.S.: I didn’t want to mention it during the conversation we had when you were here—but on the other hand, I don’t see what right I have not to mention it. I strongly hope that you are careful to put on tefillin every weekday. In your case it is not merely a matter of a single mitzvah performed by a single person, but rather a matter which concerns the wellbeing of the general public. Despite the fact that you are extremely busy with security matters and so on, as is well known, nevertheless—in fact, even more so because of that—it would be proper that you are careful to fulfill this mitzvah properly. This relates to both the hand-tefillin and the head-tefillin. I hope you will forgive me for bringing this up.

Free translation of a letter from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.

Translated from the original Hebrew. As is inherent with translations, some of the nuance and intent may not be precise.
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Discussion (2)
January 17, 2014
I am taken back, delighted , to by the military wisdom, asymetric warfare . by the Rebbe.
The lesson over and over again which Israel is still playing with is that an
equal amount of force in response to murder will stop murderers from committing murder . I am talking today . He in the State we are told that Hamas missiles were taken down by defensive missiles employed by the IDF . ( The a
The point though , I make,is that Obama sold us out with regard to defensive missiles to the Russians in the treaty made with the US and Russia . The exact point is defensive missile systems can become overwhelmed and let missccles through when so overwhelmed . So, although Israeli 's did not die , the enemy
is testing the defense of Israel , to be successful , and the response to this
was to wound a few Hamas . What the Rebbe is telling Sharon is that he
has to be ready with a battle plan to stop evil . As Hamas is still doing the same terror - they have done now for 20 plus years it is time to get rid of Hamas to possible one or more of the very rich Arabs States South of Suez
Anonymous
January 12, 2014
Ashreinu
It still boggles the mind to see the Rebbe's words in writing. Be it his phenomenal foresight, His knowledge not only of Torah but of civil, political and military matter, His love and sincerity twards a fellow jew, or even just the kind and wise and unnecessarily humble tone, the Rebbe's words are Timeless.
Ashreinu Ashreinu Ashreinu.
Rabbi S L
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