The Torah teaches: “When you go out to war against an enemy and you come across an army that is stronger than you do not fear because Hashem is with you…”
The question can be asked: “Why does the Torah specify fear only when the Jewish people are fighting an army seemingly stronger than them? Is there not a worry of fear in any battle?
While it is true that in any battle there is fear, perhaps the fear is of something completely different. When one battles a stronger army it is logical to be afraid of defeat. Thus the Torah reassures one need not fear for Hashem is with the Jewish people in any battle and thus their size is of no consequence.
I would like to suggest that the fear faced against an army weaker that oneself in not a fear of defeat but a fear of victory.
When fighting in Gaza for example Israel easily could have toppled Hamas. For that matter Israel could have set Gaza back to the Stone Age in about 15 minutes. Israel however, did not topple Hamas and according to many Israelis, Israel did not even emerge victorious.
There was a fear in the latest round against Hamas. The fear however was not of defeat. There was a real fear that Israel may just win. Israel feared victory.
If Israel were to crush Hamas who would fill the void? What would the nations of the world think? Who would be responsible for rebuilding that which we destroyed?
If Israel were to win quickly and properly without apologies it would first need to confront itself. To win the war – all the wars- Israel must only decide that its cause is just. Israel must come to terms with the fact that the land truly belongs to us as given to us by our creator.
After all if the land isn’t really ours, who are we to establish sovereignty?
If the land isn’t really ours who are we to cultivate it and live on it?
If the land isn’t really ours who are we to defend it?
When fighting smaller army perhaps what we fear is defeat. Perhaps what we fear is victory. Victory is uncomfortable if you are unsure you are correct. Israel fears itself and Israel fears its our values.
Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki known more commonly as Rashi comments on the first verse of the Torah in order to explain why the Torah begins with the creation of the world. One day, explains Rashi, the nations of the world will confront the Jewish people accusing them of being bandits who stole the land of Israel. In response the Jewish people will explain to the world gd created the entire world and he decided to give the land of Israel to the Jewish people, thus we cannot possibly be bandits. It seems odd however that Rashi, one of the greatest Jewish Rabbis, would suggest a solution with little chance of success. After all just this past week the nations of the world declared that the Jewish people are in fact bandits in their own homes.
Here are just a few example of the headlines just from this week:
“US: Israel’s West Bank land grab counterproductive…”
“Israel slammed for West bank land expropriation”
“UK deplores Israel’s Land grab on West Bank”
The world is condemning Israel for inhabiting its own land; in order to stand up for ourselves we must believe we are correct.
It is true that Israel must stand up and declare the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. It is also true that Israel must fight every war to win (not just to end the war).
Before this can happen however, the Jewish people must convince ourselves of the truth.
The truth is the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.
We cannot not flinch and we cannot not blink. We cannot for we are correct.
We will not fear an enemy stronger than us for gd is with us and we will not fear an army weaker than us because we are just in our cause.
The nation of Israel is here to thrive on the land that was given to us in spite of our enemies big or small.