Sometimes, when Jews in the Diaspora speak about Aliyah, they say, "Certainly we are planning to live in Israel. But with all the fighting there, we can't go now. We will go when the situation becomes more peaceful."

In this week's Torah portion, we learn something different. The opening verse, "When you go forth to war against your enemies...." teaches us that war is an integral part of our Divine national mission. Seven out of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah deal with war. HaShem Himself is called "The Master of War".

The underlying commandment to wage war, milchemet mitzvah, is explained by the Ramban as the Torah mitzvah of dwelling in the Land of Israel and keeping it under Jewish sovereignty. Establishing national Jewish life (Medinat Yisrael) in Eretz Yisrael is the way that we perform this mitzvah, to be actively pursued by the Jewish People at all times. We do this with the Israel Defense Forces and with the Aliyah of every Jew to the Land of Israel. Not only with tanks and airplanes, but with every new Jewish house, stroller and washing machine.

The Torah's commandments dealing with war teach us that, even when there are enemy nations who dispute our right to the Land, we are beholden to call up our inner fortitude and courage, and to summon our readiness to sacrifice for the sake of our Land, our nation and our G-d. Entering the Land of Israel, dwelling in it, and thus establishing G-d's Kingdom on earth, are things that we must be actively engaged in, even at the price of personal hardship and war.

The precept of defending the Jewish nation in the Land of Israel and developing Jewish settlement in all of its borders is the Divine command that beckons to all of world Jewry today, just as in the time of Joshua ben Nun. As the Haftora says, "And thy seed shall possess nations, and make desolate cities to be inhabited. Don't be afraid."

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.