Israel Forever

For the week ending 21 July 2012 / 1 Av 5772

The Second Thousand

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

"A thousand from a tribe, a thousand from a tribe, for all the tribes of Israel shall you send to this army." (Bamidbar 31:4)

This was the "order of the day" issued by Moshe in preparation of the Divine commanded war against Midian.

Why is the number "thousand" repeated?

Our Sages saw this as an indication that every tribe not only sent a thousand of its men to the battlefront but also designated another thousand of its members to pray for the success of their brothers in battle.

As the Israeli government struggles to find a solution to the problem of legislation regarding universal conscription, we hope that the reading of this week's portion and its subtle mention of the important role played by "the second thousand" will influence even the secular public that an army is not made up only of frontline fighters.

We certainly hope that the prayers and Torah study of "the second thousand" will secure Israel forever.

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