Miracles of the Gulf War
reprint of an article printed in the Jewish Year 5757 (secular year 1997) [This article contains many stories of miracles that took place during the Gulf War that were recorded in Hebrew news articles and did not make their way for the most part, into the English speaking media . ]
“And David said to Saul [Sha’ul], Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: and I went out after it, and smote it, and delivered it out of its mouth: and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and smote it, and slew it. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Pelishtian [the Giant ,Goliath] shall be as one of them, seeing he has denigrated the armies of the living Lord.”
Failure to take past miracles into account, when considering whether to undertake actions to ensure Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel is part of the sin of the spies [meraglim, in Hebrew]. This failure led to the divine decree of death against most the men of the children of Israel between 20 and 60.
As Rashi states, in his commentary on Numbers [Bamidbar] 14:11 “Because of all the miracles which I have wrought for them, they should have believed that there is power in my hand to fulfill my promise”.
Given the spiritual state of the generation , some , may find it hard to understand and accept that we got and we will get miraculous assistance.
To resolve this problem, I’ll quote from the Ezekiel chapter 36 verse 22 : “I do not do this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for my holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations, to which you came”. And similarly Isaiah chapter 59 testifies that the generation that will gain redemption, transgresses and denies Hashem and departs from our Lord, speaks oppression and revolt, conceives and utters from the heart words of falsehood [verse 13]. And similarly of that generation it was said, that truth is absent and he that departs from evil gains the social status of a crazy man [verse 15].
Peretz: Show me a miracle.
Ephraim: In the magazine , Seedlink , issue number 21, some of the miracles of the Gulf War are listed. First let us take a look at the statistics:
39 Scud missiles were launched against Israel.
Altogether over ten tons of explosives fell on Israel.
Seedlink, says in all 15,000 properties were damaged.
3773 other buildings.
13 people died. Two directly from a missile.
Eleven indirectly from heart attack or misuse of a gasmask.
Peretz: I’m not enough of a military expert to know if your statistics are really telling me anything.
Ephraim: Former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin [who placed the Meretz party in charge of public education] was quoted as saying, “There is no weapon against a missile. What is even worse, there is no reasonable warning system against a ground-to-ground missile”.
Israeli General Moshe Bar-Kochba said, “Let us just contemplate the results of the missile attacks. From a military standpoint they had almost no effect whatsoever. They caused a vast amount of damage, yet there were almost no casualties, and one must conclude that this was also part of the incomprehensible and miraculous process of war”.
Peretz: I’d have to see the context of the statements that Seedlink quoted, in order to be impressed. After all, Soviet propaganda, for example, brainwashed many people by taking facts out of context.
Ephraim: Fine, be skeptical, as long as you promise not to be lazy, and you dig out the facts by yourself, together with their context. In the meantime let’s look at some of the quotes from Israeli newspapers that Seedlink provided:
After the noise quieted down and the dust settled, the people who were frozen in shock began to look around. They were completely astonished when they realized that not even one of the 200 people were injured. The entire building had collapsed around them, even three walls of the shelter were gone and only the eastern wall remained standing [the shelter was also used as a shul (synagogue) so that even the racks which held siddurim (prayer books) and chumashim (the first five books of the Bible) were not damaged].
When the Prime Minister and the Mayor toured the site, the Prime Minister asked if there were people here? “Definitely, ” said the Mayor, “there were 200 people and they were all saved by a miracle!
[Mishpacha monthly magazine Feb. 2, 1991]
Shalom and Jaquelyn H., although non-observant, respected Torah scholars, and had recently been advised to have their mezuzot (parchments containing biblical verses that are placed on the doorpost) examined. Despite the expense involved, the young couple replaced the old mezuzot with kosher ones. When the Scud exploded in their neighborhood, the entire apartment was uprooted by the blast. Cupboards, windows, and furniture were utterly destroyed. doors flew, and door posts were jolted from their places. From the contents of the apartment, all that remained intact were the mezuzot. Despite the destruction all around H. family was physically unharmed.
[Yated Ne’eman Feb. 2,1991]
In a second a portion of Lai Street was turned into desolation. I was in a number of places which were hit by missiles , and each time I can’t understand how people came out alive from such destruction. Someone up there is watching over them otherwise there is no explanation as to what took place here tonight.
[A Civil Defense officer-news magazine]
FIRST 10 MISSILES – 17 LIGHTLY WOUNDED
In one instance, an elderly woman was led from her apartment by her neighbor who had awakened her, just moments before the flat was hit by a missile…… A baker, preparing challot for Shabbat, left his bakery on Thursday night, after being unable to locate any flour, just moments before the bakery was crushed by a missile… In another case a bomb shelter which would have been filled with 50 people, had the population been preparing for the resultant conventional attack ( but was, empty as people were in sealed rooms, expecting the non-existent chemical attack) was completely destroyed by a missile…. And a missile which landed on a major Tel Aviv thoroughfare on Shabbat morning failed to detonate
[Yated Ne’eman Jan. 25, 1991]
The missile landed in the middle of a residential street. The house on one side of the street crumbled entirely, but its elderly occupant was pulled from the debris unscathed. The house on the opposite side of the street was also destroyed completely , but no-one was home at the time of the blast.
Another man was trapped beneath the rubble of his 4-room ranch house. As rescue crews sifted through the ruins of his home, they heard him pleading for help. only his head protruded from the rubble, yet he was virtually unharmed. His two dogs, standing on either side of him at the time of the attack, were killed instantly. [Yated Ne’eman Feb. 22, 1991]
When the explosion came we said Shema Yisroel [ one among the prayers favored by tradition when there is an expectation of imminent death]. We didn’t even have enough time to enter our sealed room. The destruction in the sealed room was total; we would have been completely perforated by the flying glass which destroyed everything in the room. [Mishpacha]
Finally, I’ll end with an account of the effects of Scud Missile #31.
Newspapers showed that in four cases where the sealed rooms of various apartments were moderately or badly damaged the residents had been away by the staircase and had not taken shelter in their sealed rooms. In six other cases, the residents were away from home entirely and thus escaped the fate of their sealed rooms.
On the other hand, there were apartments which were badly damaged, where the residents, had taken, shelter in their sealed rooms. In the case of a man named Nissim, he escaped from his sealed room while the contents of his home was burnt in fire.
In at least three other cases the sealed rooms were not seriously damaged while other parts of those apartments were wrecked.
Peretz: Everyone suspected that the ground war against Iraq, would take several weeks and would cause a serious amount of casualties. Instead , it ended in four days with very, very low casualties for the victors. Why were Israel’s miracles more miraculous than the “miracles” that the non-Jews received?
Ephraim: First of all, who said their good fortune was a negation of Israel’s miracles ? Perhaps it was a supplementary miracle that Hashem provided for Israel, in order to make the war shorter ,which in turn would stop Iraq’s Scuds. Perhaps, their good fortune was to more quickly end the Iraqi atomic threat against Israel,, since Iraq was getting close to the stage of producing an atomic bomb, before the war broke out. Or , perhaps Hashem made the ground war quick, in order to cause the war to end on the holiday of Purim, a holiday that celebrates the deliverance from a plot of genocide.
Peretz: In the time of Yitzchak Rabin , Arab terrorists with much less TNT were blowing up dozens of Israelis. If you want me to believe Israel had a miracle or miracles during the Gulf War , why then stop during Rabin’s time were the bad guys successful ? Why didn’t the miracles continue?
Ephraim: The biblical prophet , Isaiah teaches [chapter 54 verse 2] “Expand the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations: do not hold back, lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes”. The students of the Gaon of Vilna,(as explained in Rabbi Rivlin’s book, Kol Hator, chapter 5 ), believed there are 17 facets of expansion needed to fully fulfill this verse. All the activities that are contained within the commandment of expansion , it is obligatory to do them and strengthen them without stopping and without delay as the words of the prophecy there [in Isaiah] state, “Expand the place of your tent”, etc. “do not hold back” , meaning, don’t stop, and “strengthen your stakes”. In the same chapter [of Isaiah] of which we were commanded to “Expand the place of your tent”, we have a trustworthy promise “No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper and every tongue that rises with you to judgment, you shall make into the guilty party, this is the heritage of the servants of Hashem [G-d] and their righteousness is from me, says Hashem”.
The students of the Gaon of Vilna put their “lives on the line” countless number of times when they immigrated to Israel based on their understanding of biblical prophecy that expansion would bring success. The fact that they did succeed in turning Jerusalem into a Jewish city [as far as population figures are concerned] gives us confidence to follow their analysis of reality when taking future decisions. As Samuel Katz in Battleground [a book that carries the endorsement of Jeane J. Kirkpatrick and Jack Kemp] states (p.100,101) : “It is clear that by now the state of the country was exacting a higher toll in lives than could be replaced by immigrants. But the immigrants who came shut their eyes to the physical ruin and squalor, accepted with love every hardship and tribulation and danger. Thus, in 1810, the disciples of the Vilna Gaon who had just emigrated wrote : “Truly, how marvelous it is to live in the good country. Truly, how wonderful it is to love our country….Even in her desolation she is unequaled, in her silence there is none like her. Good are her ashes and her stones”.
“These immigrants of 1810 were yet to suffer unimagined trials. Earthquake, pestilence, and murderous onslaught by marauding brigands were part of the record of their lives. But they were one of the last links in the long chain bridging the gap between the exile of their people and its independence. They or their children lived to see the beginnings of the modern restoration of the country. Some of them lived to meet one of the pioneers of restoration, Sir Moses Montefiore, the Jewish philanthropist from Britain who, through the greater part of the nineteenth century, conceived and pursued a variety of practical plans to resettle the Jews in their homeland. With him began the gray dawn of reconstruction. Some of the children of those immigrants lived to share in the enterprise and purpose and daring that in 1869 moved a group of seven Jews in Jerusalem to emerge from the Old City and set up the first housing project outside its walls. Each of them built a house among the rocks and the jackals in the wilderness that ultimately came to be called Nahlat Shiva [Estate of the Seven]. Today it is the heart of downtown Jerusalem, bounded by the Jaffa Road, between Zion Square and the Bank of Israel”.
One of the main reasons that Israel experienced many more miracles of salvation from enemy explosions during the time of Prime Minister Shamir than during the time of Rabin was that Shamir was involved in expansion to a much greater degree than Rabin. Rabin signed away to the Arabs, land in exchange for what in essence is a cease-fire agreement with a high tolerance for cheating.
Peretz: True, Rabin was much less in to expansion than Shamir, but why didn’t the Divine Master of the Jewish People that caused the missile miracles also cause the political victory of the more expansionist Shamir. Especially , I ask this because Shamir really got more votes than Rabin in their election face-off, and only because the “system” gave more weight to votes cast for big parties did Rabin win.
Ephraim : First of all , Shamir at the end of his term started to make moves in the direction of APPEASEMENT of Arab Dictators and just as the “right wing “ Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, gave up Sinai and the “right wing” Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, gave away Hebron to “Haman’s disciple”, Yasir Arafat, there’s no guarantee that Shamir wouldn’t have taken that path if reelected. But for the sake of the argument , let’s say that Shamir would have pursued some level of expansion, there still is a reason why Rabin’s victory was no contradiction to Divine Providence.
Peretz : Why?
Ephraim : Many centuries ago the academy of Elijah [Eliyahu] the prophet , recorded that the generation in which the son of David comes, the men of the Golan will turn around from city to city and not receive compassion . [see, Tana deve Eliyahu , Eliyahu Zuta 16:31] Yitzchak Rabin was quoted saying that the Golan protesters (who wanted Rabin to abide by his pre-election pledge not to leave the Golan Heights) could turn around like propellers, but it would not have an effect on his Peace plans with Syria. The sufferings that accompany the generation that the son of David comes are needed unfortunately to break the status quo and the psychological barriers that hold the Jewish people back from bringing themselves and ultimately, the world, into full redemption. As stated in the biblical verse [Jeremiah 30:7 ] “It is a time of trouble for Jacob and from it he shall be delivered”. Kol Hator explains the verse to mean that the suffering itself will be a cause of deliverance.
Peretz: You want to show that Hashem runs this world by pointing out miracles. Well, I’ll show you miracles that seem to point to the exact opposite conclusion.
The book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer lists numerous occasions when Hitler was miraculously saved from assassination.
On one occasion Hitler’s enemies planted one of their British-made bombs in Hitler’s plane and set it to go off in mid-flight. They had hoped that a midair explosion could be interpreted as an accident and used to their political advantage. The time bomb failed to go off and when the plotters retrieved the bomb they discovered why: The firing mechanism had basically worked; the small bottle had been broken open; the corrosive fluid had eaten away the wire; the striker had moved forward-yet the detonator had not fired. On another occasion, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, recounts the occasion where a bomb exploded in Hitler’s conference room that injured Hitler but did not kill him. According to the book , five minutes before the blast, Colonel Brandt, for the sake of convenience and without knowing so, moved the object hiding the bomb to the far side of the heavy table support. The support now became a partial shield for Hitler, which according to Shirer saved the life of this infamous anti-semite. If Hashem runs this world , how can you explain the miracles of the wicked?
Ephraim : In Rashi’s commentary to Genesis 14:10, Rashi says that the wicked king of Sodom experienced a miracle to escape from a pit. Why? Because there were some among the nations who did not believe that Abraham was miraculously saved from a furnace that he was thrown into, when he lived among the Chaldeans. But when the King of Sodom miraculously escaped from the pit of mortar they retroactively believed Abraham’s miracle.
Mizrachi explains that the existence of miracles, even for the wicked, negates the notion [ popular in our days with atheists] that the world is governed by blind naturalistic forces and no force above nature guides this world. Once this foundation [that there is a force above nature that runs this world ] is accepted, other information and evidence , will solve the ideological problems created by the miracles of the wicked. Maharal holds that in the case of the king of Sodom , the miracle of that king was a subset of the many miracles granted to Abraham[ Avraham] in his war against 4 kings.
Peretz : Do you have any supplementary information that would show me that Hashem should be granted the “credit” for Hitler’s miraculous salvation.
Ephraim:. In the interests of time and space, I will offer now , only two points of evidence . First, it says in the book of Isaiah chapter 42 verses 24 and 25 “Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not Hashem, he whom against we have sinned, and in whose ways they would not walk, and unto whose Torah they were not obedient? Therefore he has poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of the war; and it has set him on fire round about, yet he knew not ; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart”. We see from here, that Hashem is willing to take responsibility for the success of the wicked.
My second point of evidence to show that Hashem is and was in control, is based on material taught at seminars offered by Yeshiva Aish Hatorah . A seminar that shows evidence for the divine origin of the Bible.
In the Bible, in the book of Esther we learn that a man named Haman had convinced the Persian king, Ahasuerus to issue a death decree against all the Jews within the domain of the Persian empire. The queen upon hearing of this decree, places herself in danger and reveals that she herself is a Jew. In the course of a few days a political miracle takes place. Haman is executed, a Jew is appointed as the “second” to the king, and on the holiday of Purim, Haman’s ten sons [also enemies of the Jews] are hanged. [the date is based on Malbim’s analysis of the biblical text].
In chapter 9 verse 13 the prophet Esther asks the king “ to do tomorrow also according to this days decree and let Haman’s ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.” Beside the simple meaning of the text, Aish Hatorah brings various proofs that the verse contains a prophetic allusion to the hanging of ten chief Nazi war criminals on Oct. 16, 1946, the Jewish year 5707 [autumn 1946-autumn 1947].
In Newsweek magazine in their Oct. 28 issue [Secular year 1946] they quoted the words of Julius Streicher, one of the most ardent of the ten Nazis. Just before being hanged to death, he shouted out Purim Fest 1946. In addition if you look at the text that is used in our times by the Jewish community [see for example the Jerusalem Bible, published by Koren] you’ll see that in chapter 9 of the book of Esther, the names of the ten sons of Haman are listed. You’ll see that three letters in the list of names of the sons of Haman are written unusually small in the Hebrew text. By “coincidence”, these three letters [in the same sequence as they appear in the book of Esther] represent the way Jews spell out year 5707 of the Jewish calendar. The year the ten Nazis were hanged to death.
Peretz : The Bible commands a lot of difficult things ,such as , [Exodus 35:3] “ You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the Sabbath day”. Do you think your missile miracle stories are strong enough to convince anyone to observe the Sabbath?
Ephraim : I don’t know. Although I’ll tell you my secret hope. The book of Psalms says [chapter 126 ] “Then they will say among the gentiles, Hashem has done great things for them. Hashem has done great things for us ,we are glad”. Kol Hator explains that Sanctification of Hashem’s name via the recognition of Hashem’s might regarding his nation will cause non-jews [who are not obligated to observe Sabbath and most of the Bible’s other commandments] to say Hashem has done great things for the Jews, which in turn brings even Jews of small faith to realize : Hashem has done great things for us.
A final note to the person reading this article. If you are Jewish, I urge you to attend a special seminar sponsored by Yeshiva Aish Hatora where solid statistical evidence is offered ( that has convinced even military officials involved in deciphering codes) that meaningful codes do exist in the Bible. To find out information about the seminar (Discovery program) you can call the Yeshiva by phone (Israel’s country code is 972) area code (02)- 6272355