Armed and Hammered: Letters to my son in TZAHAL

My dear son,‎
When Balak decided to commission Bilam to curse and thereby undo the Jewish people, he ‎described the Jewish nation as,

‎“Behold! a people has come out of Egypt…”‎

Yet when Bilam repeated his mission to curse the Jewish people, he described them as,

‎“Behold! the people coming out of Egypt…”; suggesting that the Jewish people are currently ‎coming out of Egypt. Considering that we had already experienced the exodus from Egypt, this ‎usage is inappropriate and grammatically incorrect. ‎

Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that the greatness of Am Yisrael results from the fact that we ‎continuously relive our history; we insist on finding ways to incorporate events of the past into ‎our present-day. We are a people who understand that we cannot move forward without first ‎reflecting upon our past. Bilam was wary of this outstanding feature, he understood exactly ‎where our strength lies and where our resilience comes from and so he described a people who ‎will always be “coming out of Egypt”. ‎

The most effective chayal in TZAHAL is one who embraces the traditions of our past to help ‎ensure our future. A chayal who can represent a link between our rich history and our ‎prospective present, is a chayal who can assure us of a resilient future. ‎

Shabbat Shalom ‎
With love and admiration ‎
Abba ‎

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