Tonight is the start of the notorious "Three Weeks", which commemorates the difficult things that happened to our people throughout history, including the destruction of both Holy Temples in Jerusalem.
The current war is a message from Hashem that necessitates some national soul-searching.
Despite the massive IDF airstrikes on Gaza, Hamas is far from down and certainly not out. Defying all logic, after every round of hostilities with Israel, Hamas only gets stronger. Meanwhile, even between conflicts, the south of Israel has been bearing the brunt of intermittent rocket attacks that making living a normal life impossible.
We periodically smash Gaza, but like a weed that's not completely uprooted, Hamas rears its ugly head soon again. Look at recent history:
"Operation Cast Lead" began on Dec. 27, 2008 and lasted for 3 weeks. The ceasefire lasted on and off for four years, and then hostilities broke out again with "Operation Pillar of Defense" that began on Nov. 14, 2012 and lasted for 8 days. Yet, since Hamas wasn't uprooted - indeed, it got much stronger: we only received a 20-month break until the current "Operation Protective Shield" began on July 8, 2014. So far, it has lasted 8 days, but the end is not yet in sight.
Why does Hamas continue to get stronger? In the Arab world, anyone who fights Israel is a hero. But that's not the reason. Without going into too much detail, our sages (Gaon of Vilna, Rabbi Chaim Vital, and others of saintly and blessed memory) warned us that in the end of days, Ishmael will be our menace, and this last exile before Moshiach will be Galut Ishmael, characterized by suicide warfare, as we see with the shahidim of today.
Hashem continues to do phenomenal miracles for us. What are the chances that a GRAD rocket make a direct hit on a gas station, and no one gets killed or the 35,000 gasoline tanker doesn't explode? Impossible? One in a zillion? It happened in Ashdod this past Friday.
Yet, a reverse miracle is happening in Gaza. Despite the massive IDF bombings, Hamas keeps firing at us, as we here in the south of Israel can testify. Where does Hamas get its power from?
From Hashem - Hamas is a stick in Hashem's hands. As long as our political and military leadership fail to understand this and to come to proper conclusions, the cycle of hostilities will just keep going.
Hashem has put the Israeli Government in a bind: At this point, a ceasefire with Hamas is pointless. More aerial bombings of the Gaza Strip won't produce lasting results either. And, a ground invasion of Gaza would be a gift for Hamas, giving them a tangible opportunity to inflict damage on our troops, Heaven forbid. Not only that, but teh Israeli Government is not even clear on the objectives it wants to achieve by way of "Operation Defensive Shield."
So how does Israel stop the Hamas and the rocket fire?
Israel must uproot the spiritual cause that gives Hamas its strength. We must make a peace-treaty with Hashem. That means returning to Him with full and dedicated emuna. It means Torah and teshuva. Every Jew who reinforces his Judaism is a cogent weapon against Hamas. Every woman who decides to dress more modestly - despite the summer heat - is exhibiting the dedication of an elite commando in Hashem's army. This is not just "nice talk" - it's the solid spiritual truth. Deny it, and forget about defeating our enemies. They'll only come back stronger.
Hashem sent the Hamas and Hashem can make all their missiles blow up in their face. But, we must do our part. Hashem wants to send Moshiach and He wants us to get stronger - spiritually - and cling to Him. Once we do, it's a knockout for the Hamas, soon, amen!