Last week, we told you about the Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza who launched 104 missiles in to Israel.
Today the retaliation came from the IDF.
In an operation dubbed “Magen v’Chetz” (Shield & Arrow) the Israel Air Force (IAF) eliminated 3 top Islamic Jihad leaders in precision, simultaneous targeted assassinations.
A military spokesman said 40 aircraft, including fighter jets,carried out the main strikes within seconds of each other,at three locations in the Gaza Strip.
Subsequently, dozens of bombing sorties were carried out by the IAF destroyed 90 percent of the Islamic Jihad’s long-range missiles.
The IDF called up special reserve units in preparation for the expected response from the terrorists.
We are praying for the safety of our soldiers and our civilians, particularly in the South of Israel.
The IAF attack started at 2am on Tuesday morning. which is the festive day of LAG B’OMER – The 33rd day of the counting period between Passover and Shavuot.
Traditionally this is the day when the plague that killed 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva’s students ended.
It is also the day that Rabbi Akiva ordained new students to begin rebuilding the Torah community in Roman-occupied Israel almost 2000 years ago.
Among the greatest of these was Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. Lag B’omer is also the anniversary of Rabbi Shimon’s passing. He asked people to not mourn on this date, but to celebrate.
Since that time there is a tradition for Jews around the world to light bonfires and join in song and dance together. Particularly at R. Shimon’s grave site in Meron in the Galilee.
Ironically, one of the customs of the day is for children to play with “Bows and Arrows.”
There are a number of reasons for this custom. One relates to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai:
The Roman’s had outlawed Torah study at that time. To circumvent the ban, Rabbi Shimon would take his students into the forests and fields of the Galilee to teach them Torah. Each student brought along a bow and arrow. If they encountered a Roman soldier who might stop them and ask them what they were doing, Rabbi Shimon would answer that they were out hunting.
Rabbi Shimon understood that the future of the Nation of Israel and its security in the Land of Israel were dependent on teaching Torah to our children and observing its commandments.
BOWS become SHIELDS
My guess is that someone in the IDF, realizing the attack was to take place on Lag B’Omer decided originally to call the operation “Chetz V’Keshet” (lit. Arrow and Bow).
Probably someone higher up decided this was too “aggressive” a label changed it to the more politically correct “Magen v’Chetz” (lit. Shield and Arrow).
In fact, Military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the operation was called “Shield and Arrow” because, “It is a defensive and offensive operation.”
The Shield of Abraham
The Almighty is our True Shield that protects our people. Three times a day in our prayers we refer to God as the “Shield of Abraham.”
God tells us in this week’s Torah portion how we will be protected from our enemies:
וַעֲשִׂיתֶם֙ אֶת־חֻקֹּתַ֔י וְאֶת־מִשְׁפָּטַ֥י תִּשְׁמְר֖וּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶ֣ם אֹתָ֑ם וִֽישַׁבְתֶּ֥ם עַל־הָאָ֖רֶץ לָבֶֽטַח׃You shall observe My laws and faithfully keep My rules, that you may live upon the land in security; (Leviticus 25:18)
and then later on in Levitcus 26:6-8
וְנָתַתִּ֤י שָׁלוֹם֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ וּשְׁכַבְתֶּ֖ם וְאֵ֣ין מַחֲרִ֑יד וְהִשְׁבַּתִּ֞י חַיָּ֤ה רָעָה֙ מִן־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְחֶ֖רֶב לֹא־תַעֲבֹ֥ר בְּאַרְצְכֶֽם׃I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down untroubled by anyone; I will give the land respite from vicious beasts, and no sword shall cross your land
וּרְדַפְתֶּ֖ם אֶת־אֹיְבֵיכֶ֑ם וְנָפְל֥וּ לִפְנֵיכֶ֖ם לֶחָֽרֶב׃[Your army] shall give chase to your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.וְרָדְפ֨וּ מִכֶּ֤ם חֲמִשָּׁה֙ מֵאָ֔ה וּמֵאָ֥ה מִכֶּ֖ם רְבָבָ֣ה יִרְדֹּ֑פוּ וְנָפְל֧וּ אֹיְבֵיכֶ֛ם לִפְנֵיכֶ֖ם לֶחָֽרֶב׃Five of you shall give chase to a hundred, and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
We are not supposed to depend on miracles. We need a strong IDF. But we must remember that the future of the Nation of Israel to dwell in our Land securely is ultimately dependent on our study and observance of God’s Torah.
May we all be blessed with Divine Protection and Peace.If you have any questions or comments, you can simply hit reply to this email and it comes straight to my inbox. I love hearing from you
Rabbi Shmuel Veffer
Founder, Galilee Green