Merit, Even in War

King David's words, not Ban Ki Moon's, ring true in IDF actions.

Professor Gerald Aranoff,

Judaism Prof. G. Aranoff
Prof. G. Aranoff
INN:GA

We read in a recent Haftorah (reading from Prophets that follows Torah reading):

“The Lord rewarded me according to my merit, He requited the cleanness of my hands. For I have kept the ways of the Lord And have not been guilty before my God; I am mindful of all His rules And have not departed from His laws. I have been blameless before Him, And have guarded myself against sinning—And the Lord has requited my merit, According to my purity in His sight. With the loyal You deal loyally; With the blameless hero, blamelessly. With the pure You act in purity, And with the perverse You are wily. To humble folk You give victory, And You look with scorn on the haughty” (2 Sam. 22:21-28 also Psalms 18:21-28).

King David, representing the nation, composes a magnificent Song of Thanksgiving, handed down in this reading and introduced with the following words: David addressed the words of this song to the Lord, after the Lord had saved him from the hands of all his enemies and from the hands of Saul (2 Sam. 22:1).

Why does King David say “I have been blameless before Him, And have guarded myself against sinning—And the Lord has requited my merit”? Our Rabbis say that because before he became king, David had experienced battles that were extremely painful for him, battles with King Saul who was trying to kill him. Twice, David could have killed King Saul when the monarch was sleeping.

This was why King David says: I have been blameless before Him, And have guarded myself against sinning—And the Lord has requited my merit.

We, too, have had extremely painful battles against our enemy, Hamas, in Gaza.  Hamas perpetrated horrific murders and the loss and injury of our soldiers and civilians by Hamas caused us extreme pain. 

We acted with restraint, throughout our battles with Hamas, to minimize killing women and children and civilians.  We made phone calls and dropped leaflets to warn people to evacuate areas located especially near Hamas missiles and rockets. 

Midrash Rabbah Numbers 15:16: “Thus you find in the case of David when Saul fell into his hands. What did David say? And David went on, “As the Lord lives, the Lord Himself will strike him down, or his time will come and he will die, or he will go down to battle and perish (I Sam. 26:10).

Why did he swear twice? R. Samuel b. Nahmani answered: His [evil] inclination came to him and said: ' Had you fallen into his hand he would not have had mercy upon you and would have killed you. You are permitted by Pentateuchal law to kill him! " If one comes to slay you, slay him first"; for he is a pursuer! On this account David hastened and took an oath, twice saying, As the Lord lives that he would not kill him.”

We, too, had every right to kill women and children who were near Hamas missiles, but we restrained ourselves.

We tried to be righteous.  And our prayer is that The Lord Almighty reward us today as He rewarded King David The Lord rewarded me according to my merit.





top