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Reciting a Mi Shebeirach for IDF soldiers in Shul
I am a Shliach and run a Chabad House style Shul in the USA which has a fairly large number of Mekuravim, as well as Anash. Upon requests of various congregants who have children and relatives serving in the IDF, we began saying a Mi Shebeirach for the soldiers by each Torah reading on Shabbos and weekday. This past Shabbos a fellow scholarly Rabbi who is a relative of mine came to us for Shabbos and was surprised that we were saying the Mi Shebeirach. He said that the rebbe was against adding any additional supplications to the prayer, and we are therefore never accustomed to recite a Mi Shebeirach for Israel or any other country, during the prayer. I told him of the circumstances that this matter is close to home, being that many congregants have children or relatives in the IDF. What is your opinion on the matter?
I see absolutely no issue with it, and on the contrary, it is a blessed idea, especially in these times and especially when the matter so close to home to your congregants. I am not aware of any pushback from the Rebbe to such a concept, and indeed we find that Rebbe Rayatz authored personal prayers to be said during times of war, and that likewise the Rebbe requested in one year for Anash to recite a Mi Shebeirach for the residents of Israel.
It is a mitzvah in the Torah for one to Daven to Hashem in time of need and distress, and certainly, it is a mitzvah in the Torah for every Jew to Daven to Hashem in our current state of war for the success of the IDF and safety of all of its soldiers and citizens of Israel. Now, to tackle the issue of having the public recite a new prayer: We find recorded in the Poskim that some are accustomed not to recite any prayer liturgy that was not authored by our early sages, such as Eleazar ha-Kalir, who wrote it in accordance to the truths of Kabbalah. It is in this spirit that the Rebbe conveyed his opinion that he is not fond of all of the various new prayers that people compose with intent for them to be incorporated in addition to the daily prayer. It is likely due to this reason as well as other reasons that the rebbe completely negated the instituting of a new prayer to be said on behalf of the Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Based on this, I believe some have understood that in the Rebbe’s opinion, the writing and saying of a new prayer is always negated. However, I do not believe this to be the case as 1) 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. 2) The Rebbe was personally involved in the writing of a prayer Nussach to be recited by one of the Shluchim in front of the United States Senate. 3) On 12th of Tamuz 5710 the Rebbe instructed the Chassidim prior to entering the Ohel that they should recite a Mi Shebeirach for all of the Jewish people found in Israel and for all of the sick children in Israel and for all of the Jewish people of the world. 4) The Shluchim to Morocco composed a Mi Shebeirach prayer to be said on behalf of the king of Morocco, and we find no negation of the Rebbe towards this.
I believe the answer to this perceived discrepancy is quite simple. The Rebbe is not negating the recital of a Mi Shebeirach or prayer on occasions when necessary, and simply negated the set adding of a prayer to the general prayers of Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv, or to be said every day similar to the set prayers.
Sources: See regarding the negation of saying liturgies that were not authored according to truth of Kabbalah by early sages: Admur 68:2; M”A 68; Arizal in Shaar Hakavanos and Peri Eitz Chaim Shaar 1; Even Haezer Koheles 5:1; Igros Kodesh 16:270; See regarding the Rebbe’s negation of establishing new prayers: Igros Kodesh 16:270; 30:8; Kefar Chabad 763; Shulchan Menachem 1:54; Toras Menachem 57 Os 27; See regarding new prayers that were instituted or directed to be said by our Rabbeim: 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; Beis Moshiach 763 p. 16