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Sunday, December 3, 2023 - 20 Kislev 5784
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Last summer, a group of Iraqi insurgents of the Isis terror cell overran the city of Mosul. In the process they also captured enough U.S. made military equipment to arm three divisions. The equipment included tanks, helicoptors, anti-aircraft guns and M1 Abrams tanks. The ISIS insurgents succeeded by first capturing the weaponry and then using it to capture strategic locations in Mosul from the hands of the Kurds who were protecting it. The United States entered the fray and tried to destroy the weapons from the air, as well as to re-arm the Kurds to tip the balance back in their direction. However, at that stage it did not help much, and the rest is history.

After the fact, security experts wondered why there wasn’t a way to neutralize the equipment from a distance if it should fall into enemy hands. For example, due to the high incidence of stolen i-Phones, Apple has introduced various security measures that allow a user to permanently disable a phone that has become lost or stolen, to prevent the data from falling into the wrong hands. Why not use similar technology for military equipment, to prevent it from being used against its rightful owners?

One such proposition was to fit surface-to-air missiles such as the Stinger with GPS-based location restrictions, so it can’t be used outside a designated zone. Any device with electronic components can have an “expiration date” pre-installed. The equipment will not function beyond that date unless it receives an electronic renewal.


This phenomenon, of forces of evil taking control of equipment intended for the “good guys,” is described in the teachings of Chassidut. The energy that sustains life belongs to G-d alone. This power is distributed among the angels and Heavenly hosts who are “trusted” that they will make good use of this power. The forces of impurity receive a very limited form of this divine energy.

Unlike most other creatures, we are unique in that we have two souls. One is the G-dly soul, which derives its life from pure holiness. The other is the “animal” soul, which derives energy from worldly sources. When we choose to do good, we transfer more energy to our G-dly side, but when we commit a sin, we strengthen the animalistic, worldly side of our character. The two sides are thus locked into a never-ending battle for predominance.

The good news is that this battle will soon come to its end. No longer will the forces of good compete with the forces of evil. All holy sparks will return to their source, and “the evil will dissipate like smoke,” as we say in our prayers. Finally we will transform our swords into plowshares as we convert all military technology to peaceful use.



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