Prayer During War Part One (Tehillim, 98)

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    • Partners in Prayer 8 months ago

      I thought it may be worthwhile to examine how Avraham handled a hostage situation, with Lot to hopefully find appropriate prayers and lessons in this situation.

      וַיִּשְׁמַע אַבְרָם כִּי נִשְׁבָּה אָחִיו וַיָּרֶק אֶת־חֲנִיכָיו יְלִידֵי בֵיתוֹ שְׁמֹנָה עָשָׂר וּשְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת וַיִּרְדֹּף עַד־דָּן

      When Avram heard that his kinsman’s [household] had been taken captive, he [girded] his [trained servants], born into his household, numbering three hundred and eighteen, and went in pursuit as far as Dan.

      וַיֵּחָלֵק עֲלֵיהֶם  לַיְלָה הוּא וַעֲבָדָיו וַיַּכֵּם וַיִּרְדְּפֵם עַד־חוֹבָה אֲשֶׁר מִשְּׂמֹאל לְדַמָּשֶׂק

      At night, he and his servants deployed against them and defeated them; and he pursued them as far as Hobah, which is north of Damascus.

      He did NOT WAIT!   He Dealt with immediately.

      Rashi teaches us a few more things about what Avram did.

      • He trained his servant, Eliezer in mitzvos. The word Chinuch is used in this training which means introducing someone to a thing, for the first time, or to some particular craft to which he will use in the future.
      • And he divided himself, he and his servants, against them, at night”, as is the manner of those who pursue their enemies — they divide themselves up to follow after those of whom they are in pursuit when they flee in different directions.

      How do we use these strategies of Avram in our Tefillos?   I want to first focus on the step  training Eliezer with Mitzvos.  What Mitzvah can be introduced to us, that we can focus on and apply when we daven when being attacked by an enemy who has taken captives of our nation Yisrael?

      The Rambam teaches us about the following Positive Torah Mitzvah to cry out and to sound trumpets if an enemy attacks us; in a time of war.

      מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה מִן הַתּוֹרָה לִזְעֹק וּלְהָרִיעַ בַּחֲצוֹצְרוֹת עַל כָּל צָרָה שֶׁתָּבוֹא עַל הַצִּבּוּר. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר י ט) “עַל הַצַּר הַצֹּרֵר אֶתְכֶם וַהֲרֵעֹתֶם בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת”

      It is a positive Torah commandment to scream, to shout out and to sound trumpets in the event of any difficulty that arises which affects the community, as [Numbers 10:9] states: “[When you go out to war… against] an enemy who attacks you and you sound the trumpets….”

      Doing so  he says will help us look at our actions and examine ourselves and address any actions accordingly.

      The Rambam says,  “This [realization] will cause the removal of this difficulty.”

      Should the people fail to shout out [to Hashem] and sound the trumpets, and instead say, “What has happened to us is merely a natural phenomenon and this difficulty is merely a chance occurrence,” this is a cruel conception of things, which causes them to remain attached to their wicked deeds. Thus, this time of distress will lead to further distresses.(Mishneh Torah, Fasts, 1:1)

      Perhaps we can follow the direction of the Rambam and focus on the words of Tehillim 98  until it becomes as if we are actually blowing trumpets as is the Mitzvah to do when in war.

      May we understand it in a new way; as a new craft; as Avram taught us to do when he faced a hostage situation and war.  May we receive clarity to our actions for removal of this difficulty and to lead us instead to the blowing of the Shofar of Mashiach B’mheira B’yameinu

      מִזְמוֹר שִׁירוּ לַיהֹוָה שִׁיר חָדָשׁ כִּי נִפְלָאוֹת עָשָׂה הוֹשִׁיעָה לוֹ יְמִינוֹ וּזְרוֹעַ קָדְשׁוֹ: הוֹדִיעַ יְהֹוָה יְשׁוּעָתוֹ לְעֵינֵי הַגּוֹיִם גִּלָּה צִדְקָתוֹ: זָכַר חַסְדּוֹ וֶאֱמוּנָתוֹ לְבֵית יִשְׂרָאֵל רָאוּ כָל אַפְסֵי אָרֶץ אֵת יְשׁוּעַת אֱלֹהֵינוּ: הָרִיעוּ לַיהֹוָה כָּל הָאָרֶץ פִּצְחוּ וְרַנְּנוּ וְזַמֵּרוּ: זַמְּרוּ לַיהֹוָה בְּכִנּוֹר בְּכִנּוֹר וְקוֹל זִמְרָה: בַּחֲצֹצְרוֹת וְקוֹל שׁוֹפָר הָרִיעוּ לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ יְהֹוָה: יִרְעַם הַיָּם וּמְלֹאוֹ תֵּבֵל וְיֹשְׁבֵי בָהּ: נְהָרוֹת יִמְחֲאוּ כָף יַחַד הָרִים יְרַנֵּנוּ: לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה כִּי בָא לִשְׁפֹּט הָאָרֶץ יִשְׁפֹּט תֵּבֵל בְּצֶדֶק וְעַמִּים בְּמֵישָׁרִים

      Mizmor,  Sing to Hashem, a new song for He has performed wonders; His right Hand effected deliverance for Him [as did] His holy Arm. Hashem has made known His Deliverance, before the eyes of the nations He has revealed His justice. He remembered His kindliness and faithfulness to the House of Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the deliverance of Elokeinu. Raise your voice unto Hashem all [inhabitants of] the earth! burst forth into exultation, sing, and play music! Play to Hashem with a harp, with harp and the sound of music. With trumpets and the sound of the shofar raise your voices before the King, Hashem. The sea and its fullness, will roar with joy! [also] the world and those who dwell therein. Rivers will clap hands together, mountains will sing. Before Hashem when He comes to judge the earth; He will judge mankind with righteousness and peoples with uprightness.


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