Jul 17, 2014
Front Lines Vs. Headlines

Op-Ed: We must ask ourselves, what's gained by spending hours to constantly seek updates on the situation in Israel.

By Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier

A surgeon once came to the Rebbe to discuss a surgery he was going to perform. During their conversation the man expressed his disagreement with the Rebbe's uncompromising stance on the safety of the Jewish people in Israel.

The Rebbe asked, "You're an intelligent and kind person. Can you perhaps divide the surgery into ten segments, cutting open a little at a time, and only then removing the growth, that way avoiding the enormous blood loss and pain to the patient?"

The surgeon explained that the Rebbe obviously knows very little about surgery. "If I were to do that, the incisions would heal in the interim and be worthless, and the growth would continue to enlarge. The only method that works is to open the patient, notwithstanding all the blood loss, and remove the entire growth at once."

"Perhaps the same is true regarding the situation in Eretz Yisroel?" the Rebbe said he answered the doctor in recalling the conversation during the farbrengen of Shabbos Re'eh 5738 - 1978.

"Claiming that a gradual eradication of the terrorists is the best way to protect innocent civilians is like doing surgery a little at a time," the Rebbe said.

"Slow negotiations and concessions with terrorists only allow them to grow! The only method that can work is to go in and totally remove the terrorist forces, and after that the healthy tissue - i.e. the many Arabs who have no interest in terror and want only to live peaceful lives - will be spared."

News Junkies?

The words of the Rebbe are as true today as they were then. But what does this mean for those of us who don't have positions in Israeli politics?

It's instinctive to many of us to constantly seek updates on the situation in Eretz Yisroel. How many bombs have fallen? Where? When? Where has the IDF struck most recently? etc.

But while this interest expresses our solidarity and empathy for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel, we must ask ourselves, what's gained by spending hours surfing news websites and posting to our Facebook feeds? How does it help our brothers in Israel?

Chazal tell us of two partnerships:

1. Yisachar and Zevulun, who represent a partnership between the businessman and the Torah scholar. The businessman supports the Torah scholar financially, and benefits by taking part in his Torah study.

2. Dovid Hamelech and Yoav. If not for Yoav, Dovid would not have been able to study Torah, and if not for Dovid studying Torah, Yoav could not have been victorious in battle. The same is true in all Jewish battles.

The Torah mentions Zevulun first, indicating that their sweat and blood and hard earned money earns them greater credit than the Torah scholars. How much more so with regard to the Torah scholar and soldier partnership! The primary credit goes to the soldiers, who risk their very lives to protect us, the Rebbe says in the Sicha of Pinchas 5727 - 1967.

By the same token, the Torah scholar's efforts must be on-par with the sacrifice of the soldier, which translates to going the extra mile in Yiddishkeit even when it's tough (Likutei Sichos Vol. 4, pg. 1105).

While Israeli soldiers are out there risking their lives to protect Eretz Yisroel and the Jews living there, we are obligated to fulfill our part of the deal. Every word of Torah we learn, and every good deed we do, directly impacts their safety and success.

Perhaps, by completely dedicating ourselves to Torah and mitzvos we can impact the Israeli government to go ahead with totally eradicating the evil terrorist from our midst, and bring real peace and harmony to Eretz Yisroel.

Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier and his wife direct The Beis Medrash and The Beis Medrash Woman's Circle in Crown Heights. To reach him or to receive his weekly Dvar Torah emails, email: RabbiMotty@TheBeisMedrash.com.

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Opinions and Comments
משיח now
(7/18/2014 1:15:09 AM)
good point
Point is well taken. I don't think I will not check the news often, but I am making a hachlata that every time I check the news for updates, I will also say a kapitl tehillim for our soldiers and Eretz Yisroel
(7/18/2014 1:23:11 AM)
repeat of the Rebbe
כאשר ישנו בילבול בעולם ומלכויות מתגרות אלו באלו, בכוחו של יהודי להשפיע על המתרחש, (לא ע"י ביטול הזמן בקריאת העיתונים בכדי לדעת את הנעשה, שידיעתו בזה בין כך אינה משנה מאומה. אלא הדרך היא לא לאבד את הזמן ללא תועלת בבירור פרטי הנעשה וגם לא כללות הנעשה) אלא כשמוסיף בתפילה בתורה ובגמ"ח. (יט כ כסלו תשד"מ)
(7/18/2014 2:22:29 AM)
You're so right! Thank you Rabbi Lipskier for getting me back to the proper mind set. Ever we, in Israel, tend to forget that minute by minute following what happens south of us is not helping anyone. And it makes 'tracht gut, will sein gut' so much more difficult..
(7/18/2014 3:10:22 AM)
If YOU lived here.....
You would get it. Perhaps it shows people care enough to be care in what we are going through, & as a result, they increase in mitzvot & tefillot for the safety of our soldiers & citizens.

I am happy people in Chutz are scouring the news. You should know what our soldiers and the people in the South are going through. Thank you all for your prayers, keep them coming.

Shabbat Shalom.
(7/18/2014 4:04:51 AM)
Hinda Schryber - director Orlenefesh, jerusalem Israel
Very interesting.
Whilst i agree that every person has a part to play in this episode i do not agree that someone who is not here- in the land , experiencing this trauma, can tell someone else what to do.
If this article is directed at only chutz laaretz people then very fine.
But if people in Israel are reading it - then heres what i have to say.
1. Everyone responds to stress and trauma differently and everyone needs to do what they need to do. If checking the news helps you to know whats going on and stay calm then go ahead and do it. If it makes you more nervous then dont.
2. If you feel very stressed and traumatized then take advice from a professional. There are many ( even chabad ) mental health professionals who are out there and ready to help you. Only people who are experiencing this know how it is to have your life disturbed in this way and never know when a siren is going to go off.
3. Understand that this is an unusual situation - known as a time of war. Life changes during these times. It is ok to feel whatever you feel.
(7/18/2014 5:40:41 AM)
What do I gain? Easy.
It helps us figure out patterns in rocket launching and to know when to expect a siren. It also helps us understand how well they aim and if any improvement in aim has happened, and whether or not the Iron Dome is still working or if there might be a takala.
Ah and after a rocket fell, we know how many and how close, and whether it's okay to update family in chu"l that we had a siren and are okay, or if we should just keep quiet because it's not on the news...as well as anything in-between.
It updates us on what Pikud Haoref's most up-to-date instructions are...
Granted, we are kind of obsessed and leave gal shaket on during Shabbat, but okay...

Good enough reasons? I will admit that I like to feel in control and staying up-to-date helps keep me calm but being calm helps kids be calm, sooo....
(7/18/2014 7:14:55 AM)
Along the same lines..
MK Geulah Cohen once asked the Rebbe frankly, I don't understand. You're saying all these things in your public talks, re the govt and the danger inherent of mesirat shetachim. It's one thing if there's military or govt people of influence in the crowd. But all these white-bearded chassidim - what do they have to do with it at all??

The Rebbe wisely answered: For them I mean on a spiritual plane: I'd you have any personal "shetachim" which are not yet fully empowered for Torah - give them over to G-d and the land of Israel!!
(7/18/2014 7:32:17 AM)
I am #7
And I just wanted to add that while we aren't living in the 40km range, we have gotten a fair number (less than Tel Aviv's, but double Yerushalayim's and more) of sirens (and every one was for more than one rocket).

My husband says that people in chu"l need to know also, so they know what to daven for.

Janglo.net has a list of things you can do to help out - soldiers, families of soldiers, families practically living in their bomb shelters... Take a look...

Shabbat shalom v'shkeita l'chulanu, amenl
(7/18/2014 8:55:24 AM)
Way Off
We are dealing here with our own brother and sisters. Their lives are in danger. Every Jew should have the desire to know what their situation is and continuisly want to know updates.

That doesn't mean one needs to check the news all the time, but it is totally normal and expected for a brother to stay posted on his brothers dangerous situation.

To #7: That is refering to nations fighting against nations, not a war the Yidden are involved in. Such a war, all Yidden should know the latest. Obviously, Torah and Mitzvos are most important for this situation.
(7/18/2014 9:24:40 AM)
Way Off
Correction: The end of my comment was directed to #3
(7/18/2014 9:25:21 AM)
Agree but...
When asking my family in Israel what could I do besides daven to help, they're response was social media. The soldiers only read negative post or articles all over the media which lowers there moral. Having facebook flooded with the truth about Israel will help soldiers know that their brothers and sisters around the world care. We live in crazy times, when you have liberal jews all the way to neturei karta siding and protesting with the Palestinians.

Speaking with relatives who are serving in the IDF it's disheartening for them to read news articles about Jews on campus protesting Israel's right to defend themselves. As Jews we've never been good at propaganda. We rather quietly hope people will come to their senses and see the light. Although history has proven that through blood libels, holocaust and falsified images in the middle east, that propaganda against us is real weapon that has worked. We must use our own propaganda to share the truth, not just to show solidarity but to show this time we are not going to go down quietly and all must do their own part to help in solidarity.
Although Torah and Mitzvot will of course protect our chayalim, showing solidarity and trying to spread the truth will help them too! All it takes is a click of a button to spread the truth. Every little bit counts!
(7/18/2014 9:36:04 AM)
What is gained by checking COLLive hourly in general!
(7/18/2014 11:38:42 AM)
Good gezugt. Well said.
(7/18/2014 1:29:20 PM)
If your interested in spreading tehillim, there's a lubavitcher already busying making many cycles. Email her at tehillim4israel@gmail.com to join in.
Am Yisroel chai!!
(7/20/2014 3:17:03 AM)
Oy, this is so true
Even though it's also so hard to do. But I think the author made it clear that he recognizes that it's natural and actually a good thing that we stay in the know. He's addressing the fact that we can become obsessed with following in the news instead of actually doing something about it. Thank you for posting, this is a must read for every single jew!!
(7/20/2014 5:51:56 PM)
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