IDF reserve soldiers at Gaza border
IDF reserve soldiers at Gaza borderצילום: Moshe Shai/Flash90

In recent weeks, as the reservists return to their homes, we are increasingly exposed to the stories and events they have experienced. One of the amazing things is that despite the unprecedented number of days in the reserves, and despite the fact that many of them are aware that they will soon be called up again (most of them were not even reimbursed for the cost of the equipment) – they do not complain.

In my day, we served thirty days of reserve duty a year which seemed like an eternity, and today I got to talk to one of the heroes of the reserves who has been in Gaza for almost four months, a married man – with a family and a private business – who told me that he only agreed to be released from reserve duty if he was promised a "more combative" assignment in a unit in the north.

Interestingly, the Hebrew word for reserve duty is "miluim." The term "yimei miluim", translated as days of investiture, while the literal meaning of "miluim" is "filled", is taken from this week’s Torah reading “Tetzaveh”. The seven days before the dedication of the Tabernacle, which invested the hands of the Kohanim to serve in the holy temple, prepared them for their job. The days of miluim are days which prepare the vessel in advance for the abundance that will fill it.

All those who fear that prolonged reserve duty will cause marital and family tensions and financial or psychological problems should become familiar with the words of Maimonides (Kings and Wars 7): "anyone who fights with their entire heart, without fear, with the intention of sanctifying God's name alone, can be assured that they will find no harm, nor will bad overtake them. They will be granted a proper family in Israel and gather merit for themself and their children forever".

Of course, disconnecting from a normal way of life for a long period of time brings challenges that must be dealt with professionally, but anyone who has devoted themself for many months to the Jewish people will return from the war another person; full of meaning and values who will ultimately empower themself and their environment. Amen, may it be so!

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