Who is the Army of HaShem?

Photo Courtesy Sharona Halickman

In Parshat Bo, after the plagues, we read about the Exodus from Egypt (Shmot 12:51):

On that very day, Good took B’nai Yisrael out of Egypt in their multitudes (al tzivotam).

One way to read the word “tzivotam” is by their hosts. In other words, the angels were instrumental in helping B’nai Yisrael get out of Egypt.

Another way to read “tzivotam” is that B’nai Yisrael were a “tzava,” an army.

Rav David Avraham Spector explains based on the teachings of Rav Kook in Orot that the God of legions is the God of Israel and the army of Israel is the army of God. Tzahal- Tzava Hagana L’Yisrael- The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is therefore the revelation of the angels who fight for Israel.

In the beginning of Parshat Beshalach, Shmot 13:18, we learn that B’nai Yisrael left Egypt with weapons:

God led the people round-about by way of the wilderness to the Sea of Reeds. B’nai Yisrael were armed (chamushim) when they went up from Egypt.

Why did they need weapons?

According to Rashbam, they were armed with weapons so that they would be ready to conquer the Land of C’naan.

Rav Spector points out that B’nai Yisrael were preparing themselves to observe the mitzvah of Settling the Land of Israel. Ramban explains in his Additions to Sefer HaMitzvot of the Rambam (Mitzvah #4): We are commanded to inherit the Land…The rabbis taught that this is considered a Milchemet Mitzvah, an obligatory war…and they taught that the Mitzvah of Settling the Land of Israel is equal to all of the Mitzvot.

Without the partnership of God and the IDF, we would not have a Modern State of Israel. While God and the angels protect us from above, the soldiers are angels safeguarding us on the ground.

We must do what we can to show our appreciation for the soldiers who protect us night and day in missions that we can’t even fathom.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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