[This q&a was recorded in October of 1973]
Why did Hashem allow the Arabs to attack us on Yom Kippur?
Rabbi Levy is asking why Hashem allowed the Arabs to attack us on Yom Kippur. So I presume that there are two parts to this question. Why did Hashem allow them to attack us and why did He allow them to attack us on Yom Kippur?
But first, I must make an amendment to the question. The word “us” is not properly used. The Arabs didn’t attack “us.” The Arabs attacked the people in Eretz Yisroel. And that’s important to note. Because for certain purposes there are people in Eretz Yisroel who wish to create the impression that the Arabs are attacking the whole Jewish nation. But this is not true. Not that the Arabs love us so much – not at all – but the Arabs had no intention of attempting to destroy, chalilah, the Jewish People, as was falsely stated recently in one Hebrew Kol Koireh. It said, “Amru – Li’chu vi’na’chideim mi’goy vi’lo yi’zocheir shem Yisroel od.” That’s what it said in the Kol Koireh and I don’t understand that at all. At all! The Arabs didn’t say that. If they wanted to destroy specifically the State of Israel we have to differentiate between their intentions. They didn’t want to destroy, chalilah, the Am Yisroel.
Now, why did Hashem permit it? Hakodosh Boruch Hu permits many things that we don’t like. But he understands more than we do, like the physician does. You go to the physician and sometimes he does a number of things that you’d prefer he wouldn’t do. He pushes certain things down your throat or up the other end of you. And he makes various examinations that you might not like. But he does it because he has his good reasons. And Hakodosh Boruch Hu is the big Roifei. And therefore it says, “Ha’yoser goyim, ha’loh yo’chi’ach,” If He brings suffering upon the Nations, is He not showing something. “Ha’milamed adam da’as.” Isn’t He teaching Man understanding? So we must understand as well, that He certainly wishes to teach us, the Am Yisroel. Only that, if we had the foresight to learn from the misfortunes that happened to other nations then we could sometimes spare ourselves from undergoing these experiences. If we would study the yissurim that other people have, then it would be enough. But when we fail to learn from the yissurim of others then sometimes we ourselves have to suffer, chalilah.
Now, let’s say, the people of the State of Israel had learned from the sufferings that people underwent in the Vietnam War, or other wars, which were sent upon the Nations for the purpose of making the Am Yisroel afraid and causing us to do teshuva. That’s what the Gemara says, “Ein pur’onee’os bah li’olam elah bi’shvil Yisroel.” [Yevamos 63a] No misfortune comes upon the world if not for the sake of Yisroel. Do you hear that? All misfortunes are only for the sake of our people. Even that which comes upon the nations of the world. And Rashi says, “ki’dei li’yari’um,” in order to put a fear into them so that they should do teshuva.
So if we would learn properly from the wars that the nations are undergoing, then we could be spared those wars that hit closer to home. But when Hakodosh Boruch Hu sees that people don’t learn sufficiently, what does He do? He brings the lessons closer to home.
And why did it happen on Yom Kippur? Because that is the day that they should have learned the most lessons. What day is more suited for teshuva? And therefore, when Hakodosh Boruch Hu sees that Yom Kippur is passing by and soon it will be over and it will be back to the old di’rachim in Medinas Yisroel – the same things that they did last year after Yom Kippur and the year before that after Yom Kippur – so therefore, this year He added a little more vitamins in order that the lessons should be more potent. The purpose of all suffering is for teshuva and suffering on Yom Kippur is surely for teshuva.