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19 Tammuz 5774 - July 17, 2014 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Practice Mitzvos While the Rockets are Falling

By Yechiel Sever

"At the time that the siren alarm goes off and pierces our hearts, every G-d-fearing person can strengthen himself in some way. The ninety seconds during which the rocket makes its way from the enemy launcher until its destination to Israeli settlements is the most opportune time to fulfill mitzvos applicable to wartime, in which we now find ourselves. We can actually perform four or five mitzvos from the Torah!" These were the words of HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein.

Alongside the will to fortify ourselves upon hearing the alarming sound of the rising and falling siren, our peace of mind cannot help but rise and fall accordingly! We cannot always succeed in collecting our thoughts. To combat this effectively, HaRav Yitzchok Zilberstein, Rav of Ramat Elchonon and member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, together with the members of the Beis Dovid kollel in Holon which he heads, formulated a list of the Torah-based mitzvos which one can fulfill upon hearing the siren.

They are enumerated as follows, per his formulation:

1. To imbue in our hearts that everything comes from Hashem Yisborach, and that every bullet/rocket has its address, and to trust only in Hashem, and thereby fulfill a commandment of Hashem.

As is written in Shaarei Teshuvoh by Rabbenu Yonah (Shaar 3 32), "When you go forth in battle against your enemy and you see horse and chariot, a multitude greater than you, do not be afraid of them (Devorim 20:1). We are hereby warned that if a person sees trouble approaching, he should engender Hashem's salvation in his heart and trust in it, as is written (Tehillim 85:10), "For near to His pious ones is His salvation." It is also written (Yeshaya 51:12), "Who are you to fear from a mortal man."

2. At the moments of the siren alarm, one must recite Tehillim and pray that the rocket will not harm a single Jew, and that it be successfully intercepted.

In this prayer, one fulfills a positive commandment of the Torah, according to the Ramban (Hasagos leSefer Hamitzvos Mitzvah 5): Chazal commented on Taanis (2a) on the commandment, "And to serve Him with your whole hearts," that serving Hashem through one's heart is via prayer. This mitzvas asei applies to that time when a person finds himself in trouble, for then it is a mitzvah from the Torah to pray to Hashem that He save us from that trouble.

3. During those moments, one should be aroused to thoughts of teshuvoh.

As the Rambam writes (Taaniyos Perek I, Halochoh 1-3I): "It is a mitzvas asei from the Torah to cry out and sound the trumpets for every trouble visiting the community, and this is one of the ways of teshuvoh that when trouble comes upon us and we cry out and sound [the shofar], all should know that their evil ways have brought this upon them. But if they do not raise an uproar but ascribe this to happenstance and that this is natural, this is a cruel reaction and causes them to adhere to their wicked ways and compounds the trouble to more troubles, as is written in the Torah, "And if you walk with Me with `happenstance' [keri], I will add on the wrath of that keri."

4. After the rocket is intercepted or falls in open spaces without causing damage, there is a positive mitzvah of thanking Hashem for His many kindnesses.

We find in She'iltos (Parshas Shlach She'ilta 26): "The House of Israel is required to acknowledge and praise Heaven at the time of a miracle, as is written, `Praise Hashem all the nations, extol him all peoples, for His kindness is magnanimous towards us.' The question is asked: Why must the nations praise Hashem for our salvation? For they know even better than we do all the evil they schemed against us - and which He thwarted."

Ha'amek She'eilah adds that it is a mitzvah from the Torah, and this was derived from a kal vachomer from the Song which Bnei Yisrael said after being redeemed from bondage to freedom. If one gives thanks through song after being redeemed from bondage to freedom then kal vachomer one must give praise for having been rescued from death to life. This is a unequivocal kal vachomer which makes it a mitzvah of the Torah. The main song is sung right after the miracle happens. The Chasam Sofer holds (Yoreh Dei'ah 233) that up to a year later it is still a mitzvah from the Torah to commemorate a miracle, but the particular details are deRabonnon.

In this matter, HaRav Zilberstein added that in addition, one should note that the posuk (Tehillim 35:18) which says, "I shall thank you amidst a multitude; I shall praise You with a mighty assembly," has an aggregate gematria of 5774.

5. To open the doors to those seeking refuge.

If a person finds himself in the open street at the time of danger and seeks refuge in a building, one who opens the door for him carries out the additional mitzvah of, "You shall not stand aside when danger threatens your neighbor" (Lo sa'amod al dam rei'echo) and one practices hachnosas orchim besides.


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