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Shabbat Parashat Vayigash 5780

Parashat Hashavua: Service in the Israeli Army and Lineage part I

Harav Yosef Carmel

The valor of Yaakov’s son Yehuda is strongly stressed in the midrashim on the beginning of our parasha, when he confronted Yosef. We have just finished remembering the exploits of Yehuda the son of Matityahu the Hasmonean. Between these periods, we have biblical accounts of the great warriors who served under King David.

Questions having to do with service in the IDF come up all the time. We will mention that our mentor, Harav Shaul Yisraeli z.t.l., determined that only those who did their duty by serving in the IDF can be accepted as fellows at Eretz Hemdah. Let us take a look this time not at who must serve but who is fit to serve. Must one be of unblemished Jewish heritage? We will investigate the matter in Nach and the writings of Chazal, Rishonim, and Acharonim.

The Books of Shmuel and Divrei Hayamim give attention to the great warriors of David’s army. We find Achimelech the Chitite serving as a counterpart to David’s nephew and general, Avishai ben Tzruya (Shmuel I, 26:6), while Shaul was still alive. So even at that early stage, David had a Chitite among his trusted men. It is possible that Achimelech was an Israelite who lived in the Land of Chet. But it is difficult to make that claim here considering how far the Land of Chet (southern Turkey) is from Judea, where David was operating. It is true that there were Chitites in Chevron at the time of Avraham, but Chazal do not raise such an explanation in regard to Achimelech.

Another famous “Chitite” in David’s army was Uriya (Batsheva’s husband), who fought against the Amonim (Shmuel II, 11-12). He is listed as a prominent officer (Divrei Hayamim I, 11:41). In the latter source, we learn also of Tzelek the Amoni. One can ask the same questions about them. Another prominent officer was Itai of Gat. Gat was the city of Achish, a Plishti king who was a patron of David during part of the time of David’s fleeing Shaul. Achish was a great admirer of David, referring to him as “you are good in my eyes like an angel of G-d” (Shmuel I, 29:9). When David was fleeing Avshalom, Itai came leading 600 men of Gat who “came with his leg” (Shmuel II, 15:18-19). David asked him why he felt a need to come, as he was a foreigner who was in exile (ibid. 19). The term “came with his leg” is a reference to the fact that he left Gat in the past to join David’s army (see Radak ad loc.). So we have evidence that 600 soldiers of Plishti origin joined David at some point during his Kingdom.

Next week we will continue to develop this point, including factoring in the possibility of conversion. In the meantime, we pray for the welfare of the present day soldiers of IDF.

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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

 

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Refael Yitchak ben Chana

Netanel Ilan ben Sheina Tzipora

Netanel ben Sarah Zehava

Meira bat Esther

Yair Menachem ben Yehudit Chana

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

Lillian bat Fortune

Yafa bat Rachel Yente

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

Esther Michal bat Gitel

Yehudit Sarah bat Rachel

 

Together with all cholei Yisrael

 

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

those who fell in wars

for our homeland

 

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

 

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10 5771    

 

Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

Tishrei 9   5776

 

Mr. Shmuel Shemesh  z"l
Sivan 17 5774

 

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8   5776

 

Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10      5774

 

Rav Asher Wasserteil z"l

Kislev 9  5769

 

RMeir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l

 

RYaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l

 

Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13 5778

 

Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23 5777

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton)

Polin z"l

Tamuz 19   5778

 

R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 5779

 

Mrs. Shirley Rothner,

Sara Rivka bat Yaakov Tzvi HaCohen z”l

Tevet 15 5768

 

Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l

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