Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon set aside a few minutes on Thursday to write the first letter in a new Torah scroll being written in Israel in the merit of the soldiers.

Using a quill pen, he wrote the letter bet, of the word Bereishit (“In the Beginning”) on the parchment scroll. Letters will be dedicated to every soldier in the Israel Defense Forces—those currently on active duty, as well as all reservists.

The sofer, or scribe, is Rabbi Mordechai Lishner of Kfar Chabad in Israel.

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Aharonov, director of the Chabad Youth Organization in Israel, said during the ceremony: “We are assured that every soldier for whom a letter has been written in this special Torah will feel an added measure of security. In our tradition, the letters of the Torah are especially potent with regards to safety and security, and we felt it incumbent upon us to deploy this spiritual means of security for our troops.”

The defense minister then wrapped tefillin and recited a short prayer.

Aharonov emphasized the importance of encouraging Jewish men everywhere to don tefillin, pointing to the “Tefillin Campaign” launched by the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—before the Six-Day War in 1967, noting that: “The nations of the world will see that the name of G‑d is called upon you, and they will fear you.” (Deuteronomy 28:10)

Afterwards, he wrapped tefillin and recited a prayer. (Photo: Shalom Lavi)
Afterwards, he wrapped tefillin and recited a prayer. (Photo: Shalom Lavi)