It seems that many people are becoming frustrated with the Israeli government. Eleven months they have been killing us and the army barely responds. I don't think that it is an exaggeration to say that the most dangerous place for Jews to live today is in Eretz Yisrael. Understandably, people are losing patience. A recent poll suggests that in upward of seventy percent of Israelis feel that the government should take a harder line against the Palestinians.

On the other hand, there are those who are inclined to engage in dialogue with our "partners" in an attempt to bring about the much coveted cease-fire. There are even those who would go so far as to call for a unilateral pull-out (a.k.a. retreat) from all the "occupied territories" and erecting an electric fence along the new border. Shades of Lebanon!

Living in Eretz Yisrael can certainly be exciting. Just listening the two sides of the debate and how vastly far apart they are from one another provides for an interesting psychological study. If it weren't so tragic, it would be hilarious.

How does one explain the antithetical differences in approach? I think that the explanation is really quite simple. The question is, are we at war with the Palestinians or not? If we are at war, then any and all force is acceptable and even favorable to bring this war to a speedy conclusion. "Use all the force necessary and do not apologize for going in big if that is what it takes. Decisive force ends wars quickly and in the long run saves lives (From Colin Powell's autobiography, My American Journey, p. 421)."

If we are not at war, then all efforts must be expended to minimize the bloodshed, on both sides.

One thing is certain, though. Even the most liberal leftist will concede that when a war is forced upon us, all the force we have at our capabilities should be employed in order to minimize the casualties on our side. When you go to war, you fight to win!

And this brings us to our Parsha. Why is it that so many Jews strive for mediocrity in their Judaism? Think about it. In business, we try to be the best businessmen we can be. In sports, we try to be the best athletes we can be. In just about everything we do we aim for excellence. Everything, that is, except for Judaism.

Why do we kick back and feel complacent? Where is our drive? Our eternal lives are on the line! Why are we not fighting?

You know why? Explains the Chofetz Chaim: Because we don't realize that we are at war with our Yetzer HaRa. "When you go out to war against your enemies... (Devarim 21:10)" This is not a disagreement or an uprising. This is all-out war. And when you go to war, you fight to win. Nothing less!

"A person should always arouse his anger against the Yetzer HaRa (Brachos 5a)." How so? Comments Rashi: "He should wage war against the Yetzer HaRa."

"The wicked one watches for the tzaddik and seeks to kill him (Tehillim 37:32)." The Yetzer HaRa will stop at nothing less than total liquidation. He yearns to push us into the sea. His merciless onslaught is incessant and relentless.

Yet we are on vacation. Life continues as "normal" as if peace is at hand.

We are in the midst of a "peace process" with our Yetzer HaRa, and he takes full advantage of our naivety. We offer him all kinds of gestures and "confidence building measures". We feed and clothe him, we provide him with guns and ammunition, we turn a blind eye when he attempts to smuggle in more advanced weaponry. We view our Yetzer HaRa as our "partner". He views us as lunch.

The solution: Wage war against the Yetzer HaRa. He is the most dangerous threat to our existence as Jews. He is our enemy, make no mistake about it.

And when you go to war, you fight to win!

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