Jonathan Muskat

Yes, God Works Behind the Scenes… And So Does Our Beloved IDF

Last Saturday night, following the destruction of over 99% of the 300 missiles launched by Iran against Israel by Israel and its allies, many invoked one of the most potent paragraphs of the Pesach seder, known as “v’hee she’amdah.” In this paragraph, we affirm the enduring promise made by God to Avraham to protect his descendants, asserting that this promise has endured through time. We recite that in every generation, our enemies rise to annihilate us, yet God delivers us from their grasp. This deliverance was witnessed on Saturday night.

But is the assertion we recite in the Haggadah truly accurate? Is it factual that in every generation, our adversaries seek our destruction? Regrettably, history reveals numerous enemies who fit this description. Over the past century, it was the Nazis, followed by our Arab neighbors, and presently primarily Iran and its proxies. Yet, can we genuinely identify an adversary in every single generation that posed an existential threat to the Jewish people?

One answer to this question that I encountered in my youth is that indeed, in every generation, there have been enemies desiring our destruction, but sometimes their plans remain undisclosed, and God works clandestinely to foil them. We express gratitude for both the times God has saved us that we are aware of and those we are not.

In truth, what holds for gratitude towards God also applies to expressing gratitude towards others. Many individuals perform deeds for us unbeknownst to us. Last Saturday night, our community had the honor of hosting IDF Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Jacob. Daniel, a reserve officer overseeing a unit of reserve soldiers, shared an incredible account of the past six months during the conflict against Hamas in Gaza, amidst rocket fire from Hezbollah in Lebanon. Remarkably, Judea and Samaria remained relatively quiet during this period. This tranquility was not due to a sudden change of heart among Palestinians in the West Bank but rather because of constant intelligence received by Daniel’s unit. Based on this intelligence, they conducted nightly raids to thwart terrorist activities. Daniel emphasized that while the Iron Dome and security fence are valuable to protect Israel, the most effective defense is a proactive offense. By preemptively apprehending terror suspects and seizing their weapons, they were able to prevent many potential attacks. When a store in the West Bank prominently displayed lingerie featuring an image of an Israeli hostage taken on October 7th, Daniel’s unit swiftly shut down the store. Similarly, attempts to construct terror tunnels from the West Bank into Israeli cities were foiled by his unit. During the past six months, Daniel’s unit arrested and killed numerous terrorists and confiscated numerous weapons, and they did it all quietly.

God works behind the scenes to save us from our enemies, and we express gratitude to Him for this during the seder. Last Saturday night, our community was reminded of the tireless efforts of our beloved IDF working behind the scenes to safeguard us from our adversaries, for which we are profoundly grateful.

About the Author
Jonathan Muskat is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Oceanside.
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