Kenneth Cohen

Army of Hashem

It is not a coincidence that the double Parshiot of Acharei-Mot- Kedoshim follow Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. If we translate the names of these two Torah portions, it means that after death, they are holy.

Some explain this to mean that only after a person dies, does it become revealed, how holy and great they were. We are often surprised and even ashamed, that it took someone’s death, for us to realize just how special they were.

This cannot be overstated when we remember the heroes who gave their lives, so that we can have a homeland. Rav Nachman Kahane often mentions that we should see the army uniform of an IDF soldier, as having the same sanctity as the priestly garments of the Temple.

The common factor between the two is that both the Jewish soldier, sanctify the Name of G-d. There can be no greater sanctity than being prepared to die for the sake of one’s Jewishness.

I believe it was the Lubavitcher Rebbe who was once asked the following question by one of his disciples. The question was regarding his custom of visiting the graves of Tzaddikim, to ask for their blessing. His problem was that he was in Eilat, and there were no known graves of the righteous there, as he would normally find in Tzfat, Tiberias, or Jerusalem.

The Rebbe suggested that he should go to the military cemetery in Eilat. These fallen soldiers had similar sanctity, as they died sanctifying the Name of G-d.
Chabad always had a slogan saying, “we are the army of Hashem.” The fact that we have a real army of brave, proud, Jewish soldiers, is also the fulfillment of a Jewish dream. It is a symbol that our long and bitter exile is coming to an end. There is a new spirit and a new hope that the Redemption is near. All we need to do, is open our eyes, and we will see it. G-d willing, great things are ahead for the Jewish people.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at
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