Be Strong and Filled with Courage
by HaRav Tzvi Ysrael Tau, Head of Yeshivat Har HaMor.
The “Megillat Antiochus” relates Mattityahu’s reply to his sons when they returned from the battle to inform him of the death of Yehuda, the most important of the brothers.
“Five of Mattityahu’s sons went forth to battle that day and waged war against the gentiles, slaughtering a great number of them. In the course of the fight, Yehuda was killed. In that hour, when Mattityahu’s sons saw that Yehuda was killed, they returned from the battle and came to their father. He asked them, ‘Why have you returned?’ They answered saying, ‘Because our brother has been killed and he was equal to all of us.’ Their father Mattityahu said to them, ‘I will go forth with you and fight against the gentiles lest Israel be defeated in battle. At this crucial time you have allowed yourselves to become distraught and weakened because of your brother?’ And Mattityahu went forth with his sons on that day and fought against the gentiles.
“And the G-d of Heaven gave into their hands all of the warriors of the gentiles and a great multitude were killed, all of the swordsmen and archers, the commanders of the troops and their captains. No one remained alive. And the rest of the gentiles (who had assembled in the land) returned to their countries across the sea… And the Children of Israel rejoiced because their enemies had been giving over to them to destroy…”
Mattityahu the Hasmonean didn’t allow his sons to sink into their personal pain and become weakened. Certainly he grieved over the death of his son but he scolded his children who returned from the war to mourn for an individual person, even for such a soul as important as Yehuda. Today we are involved with the revival of the Israelite Nation. Therefore, it is our duty to overcome our deep sense of personal loss as did Mattityahu and his sons – and to carry on our fight with all of our brave determination and strength. While we are filled with profound sorrow over the loss of our loved ones, together with this, we are filled with a mighty fortitude and unflinching valor over the continuing building and strengthening of our national posture, and this is our true solace!