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Parashat Shoftim




Yehoshua Lhungdim


It shall be that when you draw near to the War, the Kohen shall approach and speak to the people and say to them,"Hear,O Israel,today you are coming near to the battle against your enemies;let your heart not be faint;do not be afraid....For Hashem your God is the one who goes with you to fight your enemies and to save you[Devarim 20:2-4]


Every generations has his battles so too Every person has his battles.Here the Torah teaches us How we should conduct ourselves when we draw near to the war.But Why should Am Israel,A Nation who loves peace so much go to war?Lets suppose we say It physically,There is no way to explain it.Unless our enemies attack us,How are we suppose to go to war?All our wars are due to Our enemies attacking us first.Unless If we speak about when our forefathers conquered the Land.We can say that The Torah here speaks spiritually Because In spirituality Even without our yetzer hara coming to us We should always fight it and conquered it and keep him beneath us always.Only then Will we be Save.The Baalei Mussar explain it this way too that Before the Yetzer Hara comes to entices A person to sin One must go to the yetzer hara and fight it.This is done by learning the Torah and doing Mitzvot.But Our sages say that Only when a person prepares himself to do a mitzvot The yetzer hara comes and entices him.But I see in the book Mesilat Yesharim and the holy Zohar that The yetzer hara is prepared to make One sin even before One prepares to do a mitzvot.The Yetzer Hara is not satisfied with making us just sin.The Yetzer hara is so cunning that he does not even want us to do soul searching and does not want to give us the time to even think.


We can see too from the book of Zohar that Yetzer Hara comes to the person even before one prepares to do a mitzvah.How is it so?As it is stated Sin rests at the door.(Bereshit 4:7)The Holy Zohar Bereshit 165 says that Right when the fetus is born The yetzer hara enters him and The Yetzer Hatov enters him only when he is 13 and above.i.e.The age where he becomes obligated to fulfill the mitzvot.This is not contradictory.In reality The Zohar is right.But What the sages meant to say the Yetzer hara only entices a person only When a person prepares to do a mitzvah is that The Yetzer Hara uses more strength to make the person not do the mitzvot and It is like One who listens to a Shiur and when a topic that pique his interest is said he becames more attentive and it is as if he were only now in the presence of everyone.so too the Yetzer Hara,It is as if he were not there before the person prepares to do the mitzvot.An Interesting thing here is that the Even before the Yetzer hara use his strength we all are defeated.


All in all why does the Yetzer hara uses more strength? Ben Hei Hei stated in Pirkey Avot that In accordance with the pain and difficultiness so is the Reward.Rabbi Shalom Arush says that Even that Difficultiness, One does not need to go through it-if only he were to pray to God, God in His Lovingkindness would have help him to overcome it.As the Baalei Musar says commenting our above verse That God fights our war and save us.


Why should we do war? The Midrash says that God says to Am Israel,"Go to them as an enemy because they do not have mercy and compassion on you.so too you should not have mercy on them."Likewise It is with the Yetzer Hara that he does not have mercy on us.The Gemara in masechet sukkah pg 52 says that The yetzer hara have 7 names And one if them is [רע] Ra.i.e. Evil. And why it is so?Because he does not have mercy and compassion on others.So too One who does not have mercy on others is called Rasha.see Pirkey Avot on what the sages say about the students of Avraham and Bilam.


The Ohr Hakhayim explains that the Verse For Hashem your God comes to remind us too that Hashem which is God's name in his attribute of Mercy and Elohim which is God's name in his attribute of Justice is written here together to tell us that God have Mercy and compassion on His Children Israel by helping them in their War and Strictness and justice on Israel's Enemy by Destroying Israels enemy.Mercy to the one who is mercy to us.


Alshich Hakadosh says too that the Verse When you go out to the battle against your enemy is said in singular form to teaches us that If the Jews are united,they need not fear.The Rambam hilchot melachim 7:15 says that When one becomes frightened he violates the commandment of Let your heart not be faint.Our Sages say that One should train his minds to think that It is God who does our war and not us ourselves.Ramban says that As the Servant of God,The Kohen was the one who could convey the message but the Officers of the people had the responsibility to prepare for battle as if they could not expect miracles.so if you look into the continuation of the next verse it delivered a different kind of message.As we near the Day of Judgement we all should take in our heart to cleanse ourselves of our Sin and Make ourselves confident in facing the Coming Day of Judgement.May God help us in cleaning our sins and May we merit a coming good year.Shabbat Shalom!

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