Will Stronger Religious Faith Keep Israel Safe From Violence?

All of this is, of course, accompanied by many and varied calls for congregations to redouble their efforts at communal prayer, for gatherings to recite Psalms begging for Divine mercy, and for renewed and strengthened efforts in all areas of religious observance, in Israel and in Jewish communities worldwide.

The article in Haaretz reports these occurrences with an air of amused secular detachment, asserting that “linkage between Orthodox belief, practice and safety is insulting to the Jews who continue to be murdered and injured in the latest rounds of violence. There is likely nowhere in the world with a greater proportion of Jews devotedly observing their religion’s religious rituals than in Jerusalem and West Bank settlements. If keeping kosher, observing the Sabbath and dressing modestly was, in fact, any kind of form of protection against pain and suffering, wouldn’t it be the ‘sinful’ Sodom and Gomorrah of Tel Aviv that would be under attack?”

The answer to the tongue-in-cheek question is, "No, not really." After all, another essential piece of Jewish tradition is Kol Yisra’él ‘arévim zeh lazeh, “All Israel (the nation, wherever resident, not specifically the modern state by the same name) are responsible for one another.” The prayers and the observances of us all matter, and it is in this spirit that the efforts of these young ladies, the renewed calls for greater shabbath observance, etc. are to be viewed. The shameful resolution before UNESCO seeking to reclassify the Western Wall, the last surviving remnant of the temple complex in Jerusalem, as a “Muslim site” should serve as a sharp reminder that Israel’s most important ally is not any earthbound nation.

Yes, King David had an army, battle-hardened and doubtless well-equipped for his day, but it was that same King David who wrote: “Some rely on the chariotry and some on the horses, and we shall mention the name of Ha-Shem our G-d” (Psalms XX,8).

By all means, ladies, tear up those clothes, and get ready to light the sabbath candles.