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  • Family and Society
  • War Ethics

Armies And Nations

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Rabbi Ari Shvat

Sivan 20, 5781
Question
Is every soldier in an army regarded as an extension of his government? The Irgun punished British soldiers along this line. If we say this we reach the problem of serving any imperfect government, including the Israeli government, however, since you are no longer responsible just for your own actions but for actions out of your control.
Answer
Part of being a family member or being part of Am Yisrael is that we are responsible for each other and consider ourselves, and are considered by others (for better or for worse), as Jews. Accordingly, we sometimes gain by being part of Am Yisrael (e.g. we all have a share in the world-to-come), and we sometimes suffer, as well (as was often the case in Jewish history). Similarly, when enemies harm the Jewish people, as I wrote you previously, often their individual soldiers and even civilians may inevitably suffer the consequences of their leaders' follies or mistaken decisions against the Jews or against another people. The individual doesn't live in a vacuum, but is part of a family, community, religion, and nation. We are all part of a nation, and surely by placing our lot with Am Yisrael, and being part of the Jewish nation, it's better than identifying as an American, Frenchman or German citizen, and being dependent upon their governments' whims, which very often are not "good for the Jews". Even Kings Shaul, David et al, all made mistakes in governing, but man must do the best that he can, and God doesn't hold us responsible for that which is out of our control.
את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר yeshiva.org.il