10 Mar-Heshvan, 5784 – October 25, 2023
To all the esteemed supporters and friends of the Encyclopedia Talmudit,
I write to you in the midst of days of trial and tribulation when we find ourselves in a difficult war that has been forced upon us. On the very day of Shemini Atzeret / Simchat Torah, which fell on Shabbat, thousands of evildoers, members of Hamas/ISIS from Gaza attacked the Jewish residents in communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. They murdered, slaughtered, burned, tortured, raped and abducted people – women and children, old people and babies, whole families – and neither spared nor pitied them. To our great sorrow, they murdered about 1400 Jews in a single day.
We have not experienced anything like this since the atrocities of the Nazis. As a result of these barbaric and animalistic acts, the people of Israel had no choice but to enter into a war against the Hamas gangs in Gaza. The current battles are only the beginning of that war, and there is no telling when it will end. We turn in prayer to the Creator requesting from the bottom of our hearts that God will help our soldiers succeed in battle, that they will all return safe and sound, and that God will hasten the healthy return of all those kidnapped and held captive. The people of Israel have fought wars from the time of our birth as a nation until this very day. The Torah and the Halacha guide us in all matters concerning the conduct of war.
Volume 49 of the Encyclopedia Talmudit contains two entries that relate directly to these issues – מלחמה (War) and עורכי מלחמה (The battle array).
We are also including an appendix on halachic issues relating to war, which was written by Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin ob”m, the first editor of the Encyclopedia Talmudit, in his book לאור ההלכה.
With prayers for success in the current war, good news, salvation and comfort,
Rabbi Prof. Avraham Steinberg
Head of the Encyclopedia Talmudit project