Isaac Kaplan

"Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?"

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Israel & its Army: To Pray or Not to Pray? pt. 1

One thing I've been thinking about for the longest time is black-hat/yeshivish not saying the prayers for the medina or the army. I have a hard time understanding the reasons not to say it. I'd like to give my argument for saying these prayers, and within the context of those arguments attempt to deal with the arguments against.

The argument for them seems pretty straightforward: as we still live in the Intafada era, Israel's security situation is quite scary. And perhaps now more than ever, they can certainly use our prayers.

So why daven for the secular state of Israel? Simple. Whether you agree with the hashkafos of the state, you can't argue with the fact that the state and its army are keeping the 5 million Jews of Israel safe. If, G-d Forbid, the state would cease to exist, these lives would be in great danger. I like to compare it to the Iraq war. I believe that one can debate whether invading Iraq was appropriate. But after we've invaded, for people to say that we should pull the troops is totally moronic. If anything, pulling the troops out would cause bedlam in Iraq and would therefore create an ideal haven for terrorists. In which case, the invasion of Iraq would end up causing more terrorism rather than defeating it. The point I'm trying to bring out is, what's done is done. Oftentimes in life, we can't live based upon our utopian view of the world and how we'd like things to be. We have to deal with the here-and-now, and in the case of Israel, we have to recognize that regardless of whether the state should've been set up the way it was or not, the state is providing great protection for its people. So it's certainly a cause worth praying for.

And the state's views have no impact on the argument about praying for the Tzahal. I have no idea why we don't pray for them. We're not recognizing the state by saying this prayer, so why not? The least we could do in recognizing their great service is to pray for them. Where's the hakaras hatov?

Some people find the "tzmichas geuolosaynu" line to be offensive. After all, who's to say that this secular government is the sprouting of our geulah? Firstly, some shuls say "that it should be (SheTihay) a sprouting of our redemption." I don't see what the problem is with that. That nusach doesn't recognize that Israel is necessarily a sprouting of the redemption, rather we're praying that ultimately it should turn out to be one! And even according to the first version, it's very possible that the formation of the State was a step closer to the Messiah. Many gedolim have said that we're in the "Ikvisa D'Meshicha," that we're on the heels of the geulah. Many others also say that the miraculous '67 war and getting back all of Jerusalem may have been a step closer. And the '48 war was also quite miraculous. Should we just brush it off as "coincidence"? But then again, who's to say that the war was necessarily a sprouting of the redemption? How are we to know? Which is why I like the other nusach better.

I have more to say on this matter. To be continued.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But there are those who say that Israel is a chillul hashem and that its a secular state. Therefore one can not view any religious signifigance about it. Plain and simple Israel is filled with those who are tomah and pollute eretz yisroel. How can we be mespallel for such tarfus? As far as the IDF is concerned that is fine. But Israel?? Just ask your local Satmar Chassid. Hey MOCHASSID got any comments?

3:27 PM  

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