The following maamar, comprising chapters 11-15 (i.e., Part III) of the series of discourses with the general title of Basi LeGani, was released in advance for study on Purim 5710 (1950).

Let us examine from a deeper perspective why the Jewish people are called Tzivos Hashem "the hosts of G‑d".

The word Tzva-os is one of the seven holy Names of G‑d that may not be erased.

It was first revealed as such by the Prophets, for in the Torah it is used only in reference to the Jewish people.

Let us now seek to understand what particular quality of the Jewish people earned them the title of "the hosts of G‑d," and why it was first accorded them when they left Egypt.

[Concerning the unique significance of each of the Divine Names,] the Midrash Rabbah (Shmos 3:[6]) writes:

"Do you desire to know My Name? — I am named according to My deeds.... When I wage war against the wicked I am called Tzva-os." It is clear, then, that this is a name of war. So too we read in Shaarei Orah of R. Yosef Gikatilla: "The Name Tzva-os relates to the Sefiros of Netzach and Hod [lit., 'victory' and 'glory'], and from there evolve all the wars in the world."

The attribute of [seeking] victory is to be found only in a great man.

If someone speaks up in defiance of a lesser man, he may retort boldly, but he will not overrule him.

A great man, however, will endeavor to vanquish anyone who speaks or acts contrary to his will, and will seek to establish the truth of his position.

Indeed, the Sages teach that "any scholar who does not bear a grudge and seek revenge like a snake is not a scholar" (Yoma 23a).

Rashi explains that the scholar will seek revenge and maintain a bitter grudge in his heart as a snake does.

(The reason that the snake is used as a metaphor is explained there.)

The Talmud questions the above-quoted teaching of the Sages, noting that the Torah commands: — "You shall not avenge nor bear a grudge."

And the Talmud itself answers that a sage is permitted such conduct, for the vengeance and the grudge allowed him (and indeed required of him) are not (G‑d forbid) of the kinds forbidden in the Torah, which are related to money [or other material matters].

He who is permitted such conduct must be a sage of unquestioned integrity.

Indeed, the Talmudic term for "sage" — implies one who is a self-effacing disciple of wisdom; it is for the sake of wisdom that he directs all his actions and affairs.

This attitude lies at the root of [a true desire for] victory, and it applies only to a man of stature.

Moreover, the greater the individual, the greater this desire.

A king, for example, is chosen from his entire nation on account of his superior stature.

Thus we read of Shaul HaMelech: "There was no better man than he among the Children of Israel; from his shoulders and upwards he was taller than any of the people" (I Shmuel 9:2).

Such a king has a greater tendency to express his desire for victory, even to go to war, and to triumph.

A war may be motivated by the desire for spoil, or — more basically — by the desire to win in a battle of conflicting wills.

In the former case, a war is merely a test of strength and courage.

A war of the latter kind will be a battle of wits, if the king is to achieve the kind of victory that will satisfy his will.

The desire for victory will be aroused only when the king is opposed by a formidable obstacle; without it, he rules his domain as he pleases.

Once his wishes are challenged, however, then in order to secure victory he will squander all the rare treasures that have been collected year after year, generation after generation, precious resources that have never been used for any other purpose, and that have been hidden and sealed from all eyes.

The reason:

A man's desire for victory is rooted higher in the soul than his will or his desire for pleasure.

Hence the most intense delight that he could ever have from his rarest treasures is meaningless when weighed against his desire for victory.

In fact he will even risk his very life and take up his position in the thick of battle, because his drive to win is rooted in the very essence of his soul, higher than the soul's consciously revealed faculties, its spiritual light and life-force.

When war breaks out the royal treasure vaults are thrown open.

Their resources are entrusted to the commanding officers in order that they should reach the rank and file soldiers, for it is they who will secure victory.

This parable describes the spiritual worlds.

There, too, there are sealed and hidden treasures, like those of which the Torah speaks: — "G‑d will open His goodly treasure house for you."

In the prayers, likewise, we ask: — "Open for us Your goodly treasure house."

And elsewhere: — "Graciously grant us Your gift from the storehouse of unearned bounty."

In time of war, these sealed treasures too are entrusted to officers, who distribute them among the simple soldiers, for it is they who will secure the victory.

This, then, is why the people of Israel are called the hosts of G‑d, for it is they who do G‑d's will, standing their ground in the cosmic campaign against the opposing forces. And it is for them, therefore, that the vaults of heavenly treasures are thrown open.