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Fight for the right

Written by Rabbi Daniel Leeman

“When you go to war against your enemies… if you will notice an attractive lady, you may take her captive to be your wife” [1]. The reason being that it is recognised that a soldier has an evil inclination [2], even though taking a captive to be his wife is actually discouraged and will inevitably end up in one family tragedy after another [3].
What practical lesson can we (‘non-soldiers’!) learn from all of this?

R’ Michel Dov Ber Weismendel’s desperate pleas to the various ‘Jewish agencies’ to help Slovakian Jewry from the clutches of the Holocaust fell pretty much on deaf ears. Some had their own ulterior motives and others though the request was coming from a sole mad man and others yet sadly believed that it wasn’t worth their efforts or resources. Unfortunately, as a direct result, most of Slovakian Jewry was completely wiped out.
But in the end they did succumb to one of his pleas and sent him the Lulav (four species) that he requested from them. Little did they know that he wasn’t the only ‘madman’: thirty thousand desperate Jews took those four species – the ‘Jewish agencies’ token contribution to saving Slovakian Jewry – providing them with the desperate inspiration they needed to continue to their struggle to survive.

Why on earth is a soldier looking for an attractive lady from the enemy side in the middle of a war?! This is exactly the way of the evil inclination: even though it starts luring a person with something seemingly insignificant, it is an escalating recipe for disaster.

Perhaps then, we are to learn that to avoid disaster we must get our priorities straight and keep focussed on our immediate goals… however ‘attractive’ the distractions might seem.

Have a lulavely Shabbos,


Additional sources:
[1] Devarim 21:10, 11
[2] Kiddushin 21b
[3] Sifri 214

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