Project Genesis

The Land of Israel

Jewish Wars

The First Year of Marriage and the Israeli Army

When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out in the army, nor shall he be subjected to anything associated with it. He shall remain free for his home for one year and delight his wife, whom he has taken (Deut. 24:5). Does the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) ignore this? If so how and why?

Great Q – what’s missing from your picture is to understand that Israel and the IDF are not Torah-observant organizations. Not only does the IDF ignore this injunction, they ignore everything else in the Torah (except for accommodating to some extent the religious needs of its religious soldiers).

What does happen is that men and women are drafted at age 18. Period. (even though the Torah says that military service is for men only age 20 and above).

Thanks for asking,
Rabbi Seinfeld

1 Follow-up »

  1. Has anyone protested against the State of Israel for sending men to war within the year period? I wasn’t aware this commandment was in the Torah. Not one of the ones they teach about in Sunday School. (or at least in my Sunday School….or maybe I forgot. Sunday School was a long long time ago.) This commandment makes sense (from a propogation of the race point of view) and could be important to lots of people – and no one seems to know about it or care.

    I’m not an expert in this area of law, but I believe that the 20-year-old restriction applies only to a halachic army; the IDF, in contrast, probably has the status of a non-Jewish army, even though it is run and largely staffed by Jewish people. If I’m right, then the 20-year rule would not apply, any more than it would apply to the American army.

    More important, I think you’ve glimpsed something of the tremendous challenge we have to educate ourselves and fellow Jews. We are the People of the Book but woefully ignorant.

    If you would like to learn a few more things they didn’t teach you in Sunday School, please check out my book, the Art of Amazement (at this point I receive no compensation; I just happen to know and believe in the book). Or at the very least check out my blog at and let me know if you’d like to subscribe weekly.

    Thank you for your questions and please help us overcome this educational gap that is the bane of our times.

    Rabbi Seinfeld

    Comment by ATR — October 18, 2006 @ 1:28 am

We respond to every follow-up question submitted, but only publish selected ones. In order to be considered for publication, questions must be on-topic, polite, and address ideas rather than personalities.


Powered by WordPress