Israel’s Pearl Harbor

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by R. Eliezer Simcha Weisz

Israel is at war with terrorists who have brutally murdered over 1000 innocent civilians in their own homes, sadistically killing, torturing and causing immense suffering through displacement of hundreds of thousands in Israel’s north and south. These vicious enemies sadistically seek out civilians to inflict maximum bloodshed and carnage. Tragically, Israel is now fighting an enemy that is the embodiment of evil.

This week, December 7th, marks the 82nd anniversary of Japan’s horrific bombing of Pearl Harbor – an infamous act of profound evil, which President Roosevelt described as a “day that will live in infamy.” It also marks the 1st night of Chanukah, when we celebrate the victory of the Chashmonaim against oppressors. In Al HaNissim we declare this ancient miracle:

מָסַרְתָּ גִּבּוֹרִים בְּיַד חַלָּשִׁים וְרַבִּים בְּיַד מְעַטִּים וּטְמֵאִים בְּיַד טְהוֹרִים וּרְשָׁעִים בְּיַד צַדִּיקִים וְזֵדִים בְּיַד עוֹסְקֵי תוֹרָתֶךָ

You delivered the גיבורים mighty into the hands of the חלשים weak, the רבים many into the hands of the מעטים few, the טמאים impure into the hands of the טהורים pure, the רשעים wicked into the hands of the צדיקים righteous, and the זדים degenerates into the hands of  עוסקי תורתך  those who cling to your Torah.

The description of “the גיבורים mighty  delivered into the hands of the חלשים weak,and the רבים many into the hands of the מעטים few” clearly reflects the miracle of an outnumbered military force fighting and winning. But how do “the רשעים wicked into the hands of the צדיקים righteous, and the זדים degenerates into the hands of עוסקי תורתך those who cling to your Torah” reflect a military advantage? What difference does personal morality make to one’s fighting ability? We understand the miracles of vanquishing numerical odds numerical odds – but what of moral odds?   

At the Agudas Harabonim  Convention in New York  the summer of 1942 after Pearl Harbor, the first speaker was Rav Yisrael Rosenberg. He asked: In Al HaNissim, we thank Hashem for miracles like “the impure fell into the hands of the pure.” We understand why victories by the few and the weak are miraculous, but what was miraculous about the morally pure defeating the impure? What military edge do the unethical have in battle?

Rav Rosenberg answered that the tactics of Germany and Japan give insight. They pretended peace before surprise attacks – such deceit marks the immoral טמאים . When deceit is one’s tactic, it is miraculous for sincerity to prevail.

Just as Pearl Harbor galvanized America into fully resolving to destroy its attackers, the horrifically cruel missile attack on Simchat Torah finally united Israel into realizing there can be no restraint against genocidal enemies openly declaring intent to annihilate the Jewish state. Israel must respond overwhelmingly against those seeking a Second Holocaust. Like President Roosevelt said, this Jihadi attack “will live in infamy” for Israel, marking the moment when they shed illusions about organizations targeting civilians while calling for Israel’s extermination. Facing such wicked threats to survival, there can be no moderation in self-defense – it is a fight for national continuation.  

Israel acts with truth, ethics and mercy – even aiding aggressors by providing humanitarian aid. No nation at war ever showed such nobility. The terror groups kill unrestrained while exploiting Israel’s own morality against her. Thus righteous Israel fights with one hand tied – upholding ethics despite the disadvantage -indeed טהורים   the  pure against  טמאים.  The impure  

In Al HaNissim we recall God giving similar victory to the Chashmonaim, defeating immorality against the odds. We pray God likewise grants ethical Israel victory over her ruthlessly immoral  evil enemies speedily in our days Amen 


About Eliezer Simcha Weisz

Rabbi Eliezer Simcha Weisz is a member of The Chief Rabbinate Council of Israel

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