Biblical And Historical Precedents For Resisting Army Service

Defense Secretary Amir Peretz
Defense Secretary Amir Peretz "looking" through  binoculars whose caps were still on
Press Here For Details

Resisting Orders To Fight In Order To Improve The Conditions For Battle -The Precedent of Barak the son of Avinoam
In the Biblical book of Judges, chapter 4 when the Judge and Prophet Devorah [Debra] tells Barak the son Avinoam: "Go to Mount Tavor and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naftali and the sons of Zvulun {Zebulon}. And I will draw to you, to the stream of Kishon, Sisera the Army Commander of Yavin together with his chariots and his huge multitude, and I will deliver him into your hands".
   Barak answers: "If you will go with me then I shall go and if you do not go with me, I won't".
   That is to say, Barak in theory is willing to endanger himself to fight the wars of G-d, however, he demanded that the leadership would supply him with the best battle conditions possible for victory. While the leadership does not do its part for the sake of the victory, one may delay from going on our part.
   Devorah answers that she agrees, but in your particular case there was no real military need to demand that I come, for in any case you would have succeeded, therefore, "surely it will not be for your glory the way on which you go, for in the hand of a woman, shall G-d give over {literally: sell} Sisera.

   Malbim on verse 8 there explains what was the reasoning of Barak:
   He had no doubt about her prophecy and did not rebel against her word for one who rebels against the word of a prophet is liable to death. Rather, A] because the command was to draw to him ten thousand men, he said, that if she would not go with him, they will not believe him, and why go needlessly. B] After she informed him that they would fall by a miracle, he thought that his merit was not sufficient for a miracle such as this and just if she would go, the miracle would be in her merit. And this is the wording of the Midrash: Rabbi Y. and Rabbi N. gave different explanations. Rabbi Y. said if you go to Kedesh I will go with you to Chatzor (this is as the first explanation that she will go with him to gather the nation from Kedesh). Rabbi N. said if you will go with me to sing a song of praise, I will go with you to the battle (this is as the second explanation that just in her merit would the song of praise be sung over the miracle).
Below: A Destroyed
Synagogue of Kfar Darom
of the Gush Katif Region
[Gaza Strip]
Destroyed Synagogue of Kfar Darom
Reminder: During the
Second Lebanon War, Israel's
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
stated: "that the results of the
war in the north will enable
him to advance his Convergence Plan on the West Bank".
The Precedent of David and Shaul {Saul}
In the days of Shaul, the king damaged national security in order to advance according to his warped outlook, his personal stature. That is to say that even though, David had killed tens of thousands of Philistines in contrast to the thousands that Shaul killed as explained in I Samuel 18:6, Shaul betrayed the trust of his outstanding general, a number of times and tried to kill him, with the warped thought that in this way he would prevent the punishment ordained by heaven, because he had mercy upon the cruel, upon Amalek.
   David was forced to flee at the end to the Philistines and to pretend as if he had crossed over to the Philistine {Plishtim} side. When the Philistines gathered for war against Israel as explained in I Samuel chapter 29, the situation was a state of a war to save Israel from an adversary coming against them and a war for the control over part of the land of Israel. Therefore if the diehard state-loyalists were correct, David would have had to forget all the evil that Shaul did to him in the past and was planning against him in the future. He would have had to ignore the fact that he would definitely lose his secure "house" in the land of the Philistines, when he openly crossed over to aid the side of Israel. He would have to ignore the fact that the danger was close to suicide to fight in the back lines of the Philistines. He would have to overlook the real possibility that even if he won the battle Shaul might once again try to kill him.
   However, in reality, David did not make such a decision as the prophet testifies in verse 11:
And David rose up early, he and his men to go in the morning to return to the land of the Philistines and the Philistines rose up to Yizra'el.
women soldiers in the I.D.F.
3- High Ranking Officers in the
I.D.F. Reserves Attack the Readiness of the I.D.F. to damage security for the sake of equality of the genders {from a Hebrew article in B'Sheva}
Teaming Up With The Secularists For The Sake Of Battle - The Precedent of Amatziah - II Chronicles, chapter 25
Then Amatzyahu gathered Yehuda and established for them according to the families as officers of thousands and officers of hundreds for all of Yehuda and Binyamin and he counted them from 20 years  and above and he found them to be three hundred thousand choice men, able to go out to war, that could handle spear and shield. Then he hired from Yisrael a hundred thousand warriors for a hundred talents of silver. Yet a man of the L-rd came to him saying, O king, let not the army of Yisrael go with you, for Hashem is not with Yisrael, all the children of Ephraim. Nevertheless if you do come this way with maximum force to the battle, the L-rd will make you fail before the enemy; for the L-rd has the power to help and to cause failure. Then Amatzyahu said to the man of the L-rd, and what should be done about the hundred talents, which I have given to the troops of Yisrael and the man of the L-rd, replied, Hashem has the ability to give you much more than this. Then Amatzyahu separated them, namely the troops that came to him from Ephraim for the sake of returning to their place and they became very enraged against Yehuda and they returned to their place with great wrath.
Police Brutality against non-violent settlers
Police Brutality at Amona
It Is More Important To Remove The Evil Government From Israel Than Helping The Nation To Fight During A Time Of War - The Precedent of Yehu the son of Yehoshafat the son of Nimshi, II Kings, chapter 9
Then Yehu the son of Yehoshafat the son of Nimshi conspired against Yoram while Yoram was guarding together with all of Israel in Ramot Gilad on account of Hazael {Chazael} the king of Aram. Then King Yehoram dwelled in Yizrael to heal himself from the wounds, which the men of Aram inflicted against him when he fought with Hazael the King of Aram. And Yehu said, If this be your will, let no survivor leave the city to go and report in Yizrael.
Torah Scroll
Even Though Jews Were Under Attack In England and Russia During the First World War [That it to say, Their Situation Was a State of a War to Save Israel from an Adversary Coming Against Them] Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook Helped Many Jews Evade Army service; that is to say that there are conditions where the value of Army service is pushed aside due to the damage caused by Army service.
As brought in the book {in Hebrew} of Ephraim Tzoref - The biography of Rabbi Kook, page 97:
"Yet not only in the boundary of Torah was he an activist, but also within the boundary of the general Jewish public, he brought about great things. Behold an evil decree from the British Government was issued, namely, to send back to Russia all of her citizens. Jewish youths that were returned to Russia were drafted into the Russian Army. The danger of the Russian Fronts awaited thousands of Jewish youths. The Rabbi stood in the breach and sent a memorandum to the relevant British war ministry and stressed within it by use of national genius and love of people, that he turns to the nation that values the Bible, to fulfill the verse: "Do not extradite a slave to his master". His words were accepted and the decree was annulled. So too  he was successful in his efforts to free all Yeshiva students in England from Army service and supplied them with the certification of being a Rabbi. Now when the cowards warned him of the heavy liabilities of this action, Rabbi Kook responded among other things: "we will not retreat out of fear, in the midst of fire we will go and we will not be burnt. Our purpose is clear to us: to save the Jewish soul in this kingdom, which is suspended by many strands upon the existence of the Yeshivas...."
  However, one time Rabbi Kook was called to the Central Headquarters of Police Detectives in London and was sternly warned, that he should not grant large quantities of Rabbinical Certificates, for by this he will prevent many from being drafted and he brings an impediment to the war against the enemy. They even threatened him, that if he continues to do this, they will summon him to a military trial. The value of lives of the nation of Israel was precious in Rabbi Kook's view above all and he was ready at all times to sacrifice himself on their account and he paid no attention to the threats of the British Police and continued on in his activities; namely, to protect Yeshiva students from the abolition of Torah study and from danger to their lives and to protect the Yeshivas from destruction.
{end of quote}
   And one should not claim that there was no real danger from the Germans when Rabbi Kook exempted them from military service, for on page 100 of the same book we learn:
   "Now also they continue to talk about the miracle that occurred in the London Synagogue, during one day of bombardment during the First World War.
   The government assigned bomb shelters in some of the beautiful houses to protect against the bombs of the planes. One of these houses stood close to the synagogue that Rabbi Kook used for prayer. One time, in the middle of prayer, the planes of the enemy attacked London. The bombs fell and exploded close to the synagogue. The anti-Semitic house owner locked the door to the nearby bomb shelter. The Rabbi commanded the congregation to return to the synagogue and to intensify their prayer. It turned out that the synagogue was saved together with all those that prayed in it, while the house of the enemy of the nation of Israel received several bombs and a number of people were killed there".

Tzitzit with Tekhelet
Refusing Orders for the Sake of the Mitzva of Tzitzit - from the B'Sheva Newspaper article written on 30th of Av 5766 [the story appears in Rabbi Eliezer Melamed's article]
Displaying Tzizit in the Army

   About a month ago a group of students were drafted for army service. If in every place there is a mitzva to display one's Tzitzit so that they will be seen on the outside, for it was stated (Number 15,39) "And you shall see it and you shall remember all the commandments of Hashem and you shall do them and you shall not go astray after your hearts and after your eyes that you lust after them"; behold in the army, where in this framework we are warned especially to guard ourselves from every evil thing, the mitzva is doubled many times over.
   And so too did the Shulchan Aruch rule (O.C. 8:11): "The main mitzva of the small Talit {Talit Katan} is to wear it over one's clothes in order that it shall continually be seen and he will remember the commandments". However, in the name of The Ari it was stated, that the place of the small Talit is to be under the clothes. And many of the Jews of Sephardi origin are accustomed based on this to hide even their Tzitzit (YCHV"D 2:1). However the 'Magen Avraham' (8,13) explained that the intent was to hide the garment however, the Tzitzit have to be displayed. Furthermore, in his opinion, when the Tzitzit threads are not displayed there is a great doubt if one fulfills the mitzva.
  Our teacher and Rabbi, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook ZT"L, head of "Yeshivat Mercaz Harav", would over and over again repeat and recall the words of the 'Magen Avraham', that one is required to display on the outside his Tzitzit, so that they will be seen and by means of this, they will remember all the commandments. Continuing on with this line of reasoning, he would teach his students that one should be careful about displaying one's Tzitzit in the army, except for those situations where security requirements demand that they be hidden.
The Case in Golani
For the bad luck of the students that were drafted to the Golani {branch of the army}, the Major at "boot camp" was religious. And now you already understand everything.
In the beginning they decreed upon them to put their Tzitzit inside. They {the students} insisted to take them out. Afterwards they decreed to wrap them around the belt. They {the students} insisted to let  a greater length of the Tzitzit be displayed. Even the chaplain {rabbi} of the army stood on the side of the commander. However, from the Military Branch of the Chief  Rabbinate, an order descended afterwards that permits the display of Tzitzit in most cases.
The end result was that the seven youths were judged for fourteen days of military confinement and one of them who did not agree to be judged by a minor commander received a decree of 21 days. However, they continue to display their Tzitzit. Also other soldiers that were afraid at the beginning to display their Tzitzit began to display them. Praised be you who were caught on account of matters of Torah
{end of quote}.
   In my opinion, if it is already permissible to struggle for the sake of the Tzitzit [even at the time of war] it is permissible to struggle for the sake of saving our brothers, who are going to die because of the Christian Morality of "Purity of Arms".
   What do I mean by the "Purity of Arms"? An example of this is the statement by Cabinet Minister Avi Dichter of Ehud Olmert's government that was quoted by the left wing Haaretz news {in Hebrew} on the internet on Tuesday the 21st of Av 5766, {Secular Date August 15, 2006}.
   "To what extent is the government involved with the question of morality when it grants permission to military operations?"
Hizbullah / Hezbolla

Hizbullah / Hezbolla Supporters
 "Dichter: In not a small amount of the discussions of the government, the dilemma is until what point do we untie the rope and give the I.D.F. a free hand. I will give you an example, namely, the operation of Marines {or Navy} Unit 13 in Tyre. You have no idea what type of danger there was in this operation. There was there a building many stories high with 80 apartments and 400 inhabitants.
The intent was to attack about 20 terrorists there.
A one-ton bomb would destroy the building and the 400 civilians would be killed. It is clear to me that the U.S.A., England, and Russia would have done this. But I am very proud that the I.D.F. did not think of this option. I have no doubt that in the long run this approach keeps us human. In the day that we turn into animals then we will also act as animals. To my personal happiness , in this topic we preserve the human image. There is no asset more valuable than the human image."

   In contrast to Avi Dichter, Moshe {Moses} had a very different moral ideal.
   "Now Moshe was intensely angry at the officers of the army, namely, the Commanders of thousands and the Commanders of hundreds, that came back from the army that had engaged in the war. Now Moshe said to them, have you kept alive all the females. Behold they were by the counsel of Bi'laam a cause for making Israel transgress in the matter of Pe'or and the plague struck against the congregation of Hashem. And now kill all the young males and every woman who has gone to bed with a man you shall kill. And all the youngest female children  that have not known the bed of a man you shall keep alive for yourselves."  {Numbers Chapter 31; also see Rabbi Elitzur Segel's article in Tzipia Volume 3 where he brings many halachic sources to show that it would be permissible for a Jewish army to blow up a building that has a mixture of terrorists and enemy civilians within it.}
messiah flag
The Precedent of Messiah
    In the letters of the Rambam {Maimonides} printed by Mossad Harav Kook after his letter to Teiman {Iggeret Teiman} [page 191] a short history by the Rambam on the Messianic movements is brought.
    "I will tell you about the events that occurred after the Yishmaelite {Islamic} kingdom stood, and from this you will receive benefit. After these events it happened that in the east of Isfahan (in Persia) there appeared a big mass of Jews, hundreds of thousands, and at their head was a man that considered himself to be the Messiah. They wore weapons of war, drew their swords and killed all that stood against them. At the end they reached as it became known to me to the outskirts of Baghdad. This occurred during the Omayed Dynasty. The king (that is to say Caliph) said to the Jews of his land: let their sages speak to these people and if it be true what they say, and that this man (clearly) is the one that they are awaiting (the Messiah) we will make a peace treaty with them under any conditions that you want; but if the matter is false - I will fight them. All the sages went out to them. These men said: "we are from the district across the river" (that is to say Sambatyon). The sages asked them: "why have you arisen (against the government)? They replied to them: "this man here is known to be pious and honorable, and he is from the offspring of the house of David. It was known that he was inflicted with the plague of Tzaraat and that he went to sleep one night and in the morning he rose up healthy and in perfect shape". Howbeit this is one of the signs of the Messiah, for they claim that this is the intention of the verse about the Messiah "plagued and smitten by the L-rd and inflicted" (Yishayahu {Isaiah 53,4}: namely, that he will be plagued with Tzaraat. But the sages explained to them that this explanation is not correct and that this man is lacking some of the aspects of the Messiah, if not all of them. Then the sages added by reprimanding them: "our brothers, until now you are still near to your land and you have the opportunity to return, but if you remain here any more in this country - all of you will die, and you will also nullify the words of Moshe (Rabbeinu, that is to say the designated ends of the Torah), for the masses will believe that the Messiah already appeared and he was conquered. Behold there is no prophet among you and you have no wondrous sign"! These men at the end accepted the words of the sages and the Sultan (that is to say the Caliph) gave them a present of several thousand Dinars so that they could return home. But after they were already distant and on the way back to their places of origin, the Sultan began to act aggressively towards the Jews and punished them on account of all what he was forced to spend on their account. He decreed upon them that they would carry special signs upon their clothes and to write on their wardrobe the word, "CURSED" and to go in the streets with clothes that have iron attached to their backs and upon their chests. From that time onward all the congregations of Kursan and Isfahan (districts in Persia) are in bitter exile until this day. All this has become known to us by a story recounted orally.
   Here I judge both the sages and the soldiers of the Messiah for the benefit of the doubt. I judge the sages as having acted in an acceptable manner based on the Radbaz to Mishna Torah, Hilchot Melachim 11:3; see there for details.
   And I also judge the soldiers of the Messiah as having acted in an acceptable way, for in the end, there was a reasonable chance by natural means to win in the war. And to quote from Rabbi Meir Kahane, Ohr Haraayon, page 394: "behold the task and the obligation of one of Israel, is to sanctify the name of heaven {G-d} and to bring to the world the understanding that Hashem is the L-rd, there is no other beside him". And he who expresses distaste about his obligation and ignores this task and this yoke in an intentional way, out of fear, and allows the faulty religions to rule the word, desecrates the name of heaven and is a partner in the insult and degradation of the Holy One Blessed be He. {end of quote}
   Now it seems to me that the Sultan (Caliph) would not have acted so generously to the soldiers of the Messiah if not for the fact that he thought there was a reasonable possibility that he would lose.

by Mr. Shlomo Moshe Scheinman (the author of an article on Argaman that appeared in Techumin, Volume 26)
Additional Topics
  1. Issues Involving The Ascent To The Temple Mount - An Exchange Of Letters Between S. Scheinman and Rabbi Avigdor Neventzal
  2. For a Different Opinion About Prayer on the Temple Mount see: The Historical Background On the Struggle For Jewish Prayer On The Temple Mount: Translated Excerpts from Rabbi Shlomo Goren's book on Har Habayit
  3. Deciphering Daniel's Prophecy Regarding The Building
    And The Destruction Of The Temple And The Coming Of Messiah
  4. A Solution to Fundamental Problems Regarding Tekhelet
  5. Was It a Mitzvah [Good Deed] Or a Sin Not To Kill King Sha'ul {Saul}?
  6. Erev Rav
To Go To Homepage of this site -
For The Hebrew Version of this Web Site - is located at

2007 [ 5767 in the Jewish Calendar]