Rabbi Eliyahu Ben-Artzi, an IDF battalion rabbi stationed along Israel’s northern border, had a telephone discussion with Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein, noted posek and rov of Ramat Elchonon. The focus of their conversation was how soldiers should navigate Shabbos in the challenging conditions of extreme cold and wetness.
At the conclusion of their exchange, Rav Zilberstein conveyed a heartfelt sentiment, stating, “There is no shul in the world where they are not davening for your success. In the merit of Shabbos, may Hashem send malachim to protect the soldiers.”
The reason behind Rabbi Ben-Artzi reaching out to Rav Zilberstein was, as mentioned, to seek halachic guidance on how soldiers could effectively stay warm during Shabbos, particularly given the harsh weather conditions prevalent in northern Israel.
The discussion revolved around various strategies for soldiers to shield themselves from the challenging weather. Rabbi Ben-Artzi shared that soldiers, having listened to one of his shiurim, were seeking clarification on the permissibility of bringing warm soups and similar foods from nearby towns on Shabbos morning. The battalion rabbi emphasized that such measures could aid the soldiers in maintaining readiness for potential action.
Throughout their conversation, the battalion rabbi faced interruptions, pausing the discussion due to tanks maneuvering in the vicinity. On each occasion, he apologized to Rav Zilberstein, who empathetically responded, “This is a life-threatening situation, and there is no shul in the world where they are not davening for you.”