Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Commander’s words to Israel’s soldiers

Two days ago, you read below about the words of the Annointed Kohen (priest), who spoke to Israel’s soldiers in days of old just before battle (“The Annointed for War speaks to our soldiers”, below, July 18, 2014). Those words come directly from our Heritage, Talmud tractate, Sotah.
Read now different words. These words come from the Commander of modern Israeli’s Givati fighting unit. They were sent to soldiers who had been chosen to enter combat on Thursday night, July 17, 2014.
Thanks to a reader who forwarded this to me. It comes from the website The letter you will read was embedded in an essay written by Sarah Yocheved Rigler entitled, “The Jewish Army”, published July 19, 2014:
Eighteen thousand Israeli soldiers amassed on the border of Gaza last week, waiting for the order to go in and clean out the thousands of smuggling and infiltration tunnels and launching pads of the Hamas terrorists. The Commander of Givati, one of [Israel’s]largest infantry divisions, sent this letter to his soldiers (roughly translated from the Hebrew):
Dear Officers and Fighters,
It’s a big honor that fell to our portion to be and to serve in the unit of Givati at this time. History chooses us to be at the tip of the spear of fighting the terrorist Gaza enemy that provoked and taunted the God of Israel’s battalions. [Here he uses terminology from the Biblical account of David fighting Goliath.]
We prepared and trained ourselves for this moment. And we accept upon ourselves the mission, as emissaries and from a place of total humility. We are willing to endanger ourselves and give up our lives for the sake of protecting our families and our nation and our heritage.
… I’m counting on you, on each and every one of you, that you will act in this spirit, the spirit of Israeli warriors, who are going in the forefront of the fighting forces … I raise my eyes to the heavens and call out with you, “Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokenu, Hashem Echad.” Hashem, the God of Israel, please make our way successful, that we are going and standing to fight for Your nation of Israel against an enemy that taunts Your name. In the name of the IDF fighters and particularly the fighters of this division and its commanders, it should be that what it says in the Torah should be fulfilled by us: “Because God your Lord Who is going with you to fight for you against your enemies, to redeem you.” And let us say, “Amen.”
“Together, and only together, we will win.”
Signing off,
Ofer Winter
 Commander of Givati
May HaShem hear these words. May His mercy protect our soldiers.
As of 6:25 pm tonight (Israel time), eighteen Israeli soldiers have given their lives for us. We are stricken with grief. We are filled to resolve to see this through. We must not stand down from this mission.
We call upon the G-d of Israel to hear our pleas for our soldiers’ safe return. We ask the G-d of Israel to answer those who taunt Him.

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