Monday, October 29, 2007

The Pride of the IDF

Loosely translated from the Maariv article:

"In unit 202 of the paratroop brigade, the religious soldiers choose to vacation in a yeshiva.

Ever fighter in the IDF waits for this moment. After endless guard duties and ambushes, after training and pressure, the unit earns a week of vacation. It happens about once a month, and when it comes, the soldiers celebrate. When this celebration came to unit 202, many of the soldiers chose to spend their vacation in Torah lectures, spiritually uplifting talks, and meetings with rabbis.

The soldiers approached the rabbi of their unit, and explained that they felt a need to strengthen their resolve with Torah study. He turned to the Hesder yeshivas, and they organized a Torah-oriented vacation for the soldiers in Karnei Shomron.

The soldiers enjoyed Torah study as well as separate swimming. One of the soldiers explained: "Our life choices lead us to combine Torah and army service. For us to learn for two days in between our operational responsibilities and training is a spiritual necessity."

Tomorrow these soldiers will join their comrades in Givat Olga for a day of sports. Lior Lifshitz, dean of the Hesder yeshiva in Karnei Shomron, said that, "These guys are used to learning. Two days of return to the study halls is a tonic for them, and it is what does them good." He pointed out that when these soldiers have weekends off the base, they spend them in yeshivas.

Hesder soldiers serve the army for sixteen months, and for three and a half years, study in yeshivas. Most of the students serve in fighting units. In the officer's course that ended last week, ten of the graduates were yeshiva students."

While every Jew, religious or secular, can connect to Israel and Am Yisrael, serving and defending, it is these religious soldiers, who carry in one hand the sword of Gideon, and in the other hand, the Book of God, who embody our national spirit completely. May God guide them to victory in war and success in Torah.