(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
In a letter to IDF soldiers and to residents in the North, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar called to strengthen faith in God, repent from sin and do good deeds.
Amar opened his letter with verses from Deuteronomy:
"Listen Israel, you draw near today to do battle against your enemies; let not your hearts faint; fear not and do not tremble nor be terrified because of them; for the Lord your God is he that goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to save you."
Amar's letter, the language of which alludes to Psalms and the Book of Esther, articulates the Jewish belief that divine providence is conditional on the Jewish people's moral behavior.
"The Jewish people hopes for peace and pursues peace, and calls to our enemies to make peace. But when our enemies respond with fire and columns of smoke, and come on horse and chariot [against us], we invoke the name of the Lord our God, and stand strong and heroic, fearless and steadfast, because not in our swords do we put our trust but in the name of the Lord we rise up and stand emboldened and God provides redemption.
"All members of Israel, wherever they may be, are obligated to gather and to stand up for themselves, to remove all iniquities and sins from among us, whether sins against our neighbor or sins against God; we will search them out and return to the Lord our God, especially in this difficult time as it is written (Deuteronomy): 'When you go out to encamp against your enemies, keep your self from every evil thing â€¦ For the Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to give up your enemies before you, therefore shall your camp be holy that He see no unclean thing in you and turn away from you.'
"Let us strengthen our faith [in God] so as to give life to our souls, and let us put our trust in the Lord, God of Israel's battles, and He will overcome our enemies. God's redemption is as quick as the blink of an eye."