Machshavot | Parashat Shoftim

August 17, 2018 Andrew Shaw
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Before I left for the USA I thought things couldn’t get worse with Corbyn and Labour

How wrong I was.

Corbyn has been pretty quiet in response to the debacle but then Bibi tweeted the following
‘The laying of a wreath by Jeremy Corbyn on the graves of the terrorist who perpetrated the Munich
massacre and his comparison of Israel to the Nazis deserves unequivocal condemnation from everyone – left, right and everything in between’
Corbyn just had to respond – not with an apology for his actions – we have long given up hope of that –but an attack on Israel instead!

‘What deserves unequivocal condemnation is the killing of over 160 Palestinian protesters in Gaza by
Israeli forces since March, including dozens of children.’

It showed once again his true colours.

We all know that Gaza is a humanitarian disaster, which no one is happy about. However it is ruled by
Hamas, a terrorist organisation and everyone knows (well almost everyone!) that if Israel had not
defended its border (which every single nation in the world would have done) and stopped the attempts to enter Israel, hundreds of Israelis could have been murdered.

It is called defending your borders from the enemy.

Tomorrow we will read about the halachot of war in Shoftim, a Parasha dealing with the realities of life
in a national homeland – establishment of courts, cities of refuge, appointment of a king as well as the
laws of battle. Torah is an all-encompassing way of life, then and now.

With that in mind, I want to share with you a remarkable message. A message given by Brigadier
General Ofer Winter who had recently been appointed military secretary to the Defense Minister. He
said this message ten years ago when he was Colonel Ofer Winter – the head of the Givati unit, to his
troops before the Gaza war in 2008.

‘It is our great honor to command and serve in the Givati Brigade at this time. History has chosen us to
be the vanguard of the offensive against the brazen terrorist enemy who never ceases to insult, scorn
and revile the God of the armies of Israel. We have prepared and readied ourselves for this moment, and we undertake this mission as emissaries, in complete humility, knowing that we are risking our lives in order to defend ourselves, our people and our homeland. I trust each and every one of you to act in the spirit of the warriors of Israel who lead their regiments into battle. This is spirit called “Givati.” I raise my eyes to the heavens and call out together with you: “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is one.” Hashem, the G-d of Israel: Please grant our efforts success. We are going out to battle for the sake of your people Israel against an enemy who reviles your Name. On behalf of all the troops of the IDF, and the commanders and soldiers of our unit, I ask that what is written in the Torah come true for us: “For it is Hashem your God Who is going with you; He will fight for
you against your enemies and He will deliver you. Amen!’

Where does he quote from ‘Ki Hashem elokeichem haholech imachem, l hilachem lachem im oyveichem lhoshia etchem’ – Parshat Shoftim 20:4 – tomorrows Parasha

Our Torah – not just for 3500 years ago for an ancient army – but for today’s Israeli army

Our Torah – not just for 3500 years ago for an ancient people – but for today’s Jewish people

Corbyn may not understand that, however we do – and that is the most important.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Andrew Shaw


Mizrachi UK