[First posted on The Times of Israel: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/bamidbar-lions-of-israel/]
Ibn Ezra Numbers: Bamidbar
Lions of Israel
“True courage is a result of reasoning. A brave mind is always impregnable.” -Jeremy Collier
There are multiple accounts of the miracles of the Six Day War, when in the summer of 1967, against all odds, Israel not only survived, but prevailed over the Arab countries that had vowed to eradicate our homeland.
My father, then an American student, was one of a handful of volunteers that boarded a plane and contributed to the war effort. This was just two months before his scheduled wedding day, and despite protests and concerns of his family and bride he entered the war zone.
Though he was stationed in a rearguard position, he was spared from any fighting due to the surprising turns of the war.
Ibn Ezra on Numbers 1:19 equates an army’s frontline with the rearguard, from our ancestors in the desert:
“Know that there were no tribes as brave as the tribe of Judah who was compared to a lion, and the tribe of Dan, who was likewise compared (to a lion) by Moses, and therefore they were positioned in the front and in the back (of the army of Israel).”
May we ever have lions to inspire us and give us courage to undertake risky adventures for the sake of our brothers.
Shabbat Shalom and belated Yom Yerushalayim Sameach,
To my father, Elliot Spitz, and to all the soldiers of Israel and for the miracle of regaining our ancient capital after millennia which we celebrated yesterday, Jerusalem Day.