From the Rav’s Desk: What can I do? Directives from our Rabbeim for times of war

  1. Question:

I am livid over the news that has come out of Israel during Simchas Torah. I feel I need to do something to help and assist our brethren in Israel who are fighting for their very existence. As much as I want to do this to help for the success of the war, I want to do so for my own sanity What can I do? What did the Rebbe say?



The following is a nonexclusive bullet point list of things that our Rabbeim spoke of during times of war:

  • Show full solidarity and physically support the Army in any way you can: The Rebbe Rashab (during World War 1 and the Bolshevik revolution) wrote a fascinating letter to the Chassidim pressing on them to show solidarity with the Army of the country, express patriotism for their motherland, and that each and every Jew must do everything possible to benefit the country in the war effort “against a terrible and treacherous enemy which comes to swallow and destroy everything. An enemy whose cruelty knows no bounds. An enemy which has used every inhumane and cruel method to attack and fulfill its bloodthirsty passions. All the land should come out against this terrible enemy and we must stand up to save our land and our souls. The Army has informed us that in order to conquer the enemy they need weapons and ammunition and food to feed the soldiers of the large army; they need transportation and lots of money for the needs of the war. Every one of us must fight this battle in whichever way he can, whether militarily or monetarily. In one word, we need to place into our hearts the benefit of our land and our birthplace to go out with the help of G-d as heroes and warriors to save our land from the mouth of the carnivorous animals. I am assured that our brethren will show their loyalty and patriotism to their birthplace.”
  • Pray for your country, army and leaders: In 1941, the Rebbe Rayatz authored a Nussach Tefila to be recited on Rosh Hashanah in all Shuls on behalf of then president Roosevelt, and the United States of America, that G-d help them in world war. The letter was addressed to Pres. Roosevelt and was sent to him on behalf of all Chassidei Chabad in America. The following is a free translation of the prayer: “Please merciful and compassionate G-d, please give Providence and success to our great president, Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whom You have chosen to lead the country, the United States. Strengthen him, and all of his ministers and advisors and all of the representatives of the people in Congress. Bless their actions to save this country and all those that are close to it from war and destruction heaven forbid. Send angels of success towards all those who place effort for the betterment of humanity, for the benefit of this country, and for the benefit of your nation Israel. Please write and sign Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and all of his ministers and advisors and all the citizens of this country and all citizens of the countries which are near and far which are fighting and protecting justice and righteousness, for a good year and to be blessed with much success. Amen and amen.” From here it is clear that each and every Jew is responsible for praying for the success of our political leaders, irrelevant of our personal political affiliation and resentments we may hold towards them, and for the success of our soldiers and all those involved in the war effort. Certainly this is a case when we are discussing a war against the Jewish people, in which we must pray every single day on behalf of our brethren, that Hashem protect them and the citizens of Israel, redeem our captives, and send healing and cure to the injured, and comfort all of the widows and orphans and bereaved families, and take revenge against all of our enemies who have spilled the blood of our brethren, men women and children in a most vicious and barbaric manner.
  • Tehillim: In the year 1991 the Rebbe stated that on occasion, during special circumstances, it is customary to say Tehillim in groupings of 10. There is special significance in saying the 10 Kapittlech from Kappitel 81 until 90 [including 90]. Accordingly, everyone should say chapters 81 through 90 every single day during the war.
  • Tefillin: Starting from the Six-Day War, and with a great emphasis prior and during the Yom Kippur war, the Rebbe emphatically encouraged everyone, especially soldiers and commanders, to wear Tefillin. Hundreds of personal letters were written to soldiers commanders and generals [i.e. Ariel Sharon] to be especially careful during times of war and tension to wear Tefillin, as the wearing tefillin has a special Segula to impose fear onto the enemy. The Rebbe viewed this as critical to the war effort, and made it his main focus during and between the wars. Accordingly, it is of utmost importance that every single Jew wear Kosher Tefillin especially in these times, and to go on Mivtza Tefillin.
  • Trust in G-d, and encourage the Jewish people: In all times of war, the Rebbe was consistent in encouraging the Jewish people that they will be victorious and that G-d will protect them and that Israel contains a special providence from G-d, and that everyone must place their trust in Hashem and encourage others to place their trust in Hashem and strengthen them and not destroy their spirits with feelings of despair and loss of hope. Now is the time to fight and to believe in the success of the war effort driven by special divine providence. A time for mourning and accountability will come later!


Sources: See Letter of Rebbe Rashab written to Russian Jewry in 1917 while in Rostov, during the Russian revolution, printed in Chamei Yisrael Besht, p. 57-59; Igros Kodesh Rayatz 13 p. 358 for that the Rebbe Rayatz authored to be recited on Rosh Hashanah in all Shuls on behalf of then president Roosevelt, and the United States of America, that G-d help them in world war; See regarding the 10 chapters of Tehillim: Sefer Hasichos 5751 p. 214 footnote 94

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