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My journey from the army to Chabad

I had always been a spiritual person, but although I studied the Kabbalah books of the Sephardic sages, I always felt the absence of something important.

28.12.2022 501 (0)
My journey from the army to Chabad
Rabbi Avishay Ifargon

I was born in a religious family in Tverya. From my mother’s side, my ancestors were great righteous and Kabbalists in Morocco from the famous Daan family. My grandfather, Rabbi Meir Daan, became the Rabbi of the city at the age of 15 and a judge at 19. He told me that the prophet Eliyahu revealed himself to him twice.

I went to a religious school and, in addition to the Torah, became interested in the natural sciences from a young age. At a special school for extraordinarily gifted children, I studied aeronautics, nuclear physics, mathematical logic, and programming languages. In yeshiva I chose a course in advanced Talmud as well as physics and mathematics at the advanced levels.

When it was time to be enlisted in the army, I ended up in the intelligence analysis department, where I commanded a group of soldiers who collected and processed classified information about what was going on in Arab countries. So I was very familiar with what was going on in Syria, Jordan, Egypt. For obvious reasons, I can’t tell you more about it...

My first encounter with Chabad was when I was at school. The son of one of my teachers was seriously ill, she was on sick leave, and instead of classes we were hanging around the yard. A couple of weeks later, it became known about the child’s miraculous cure, which came after he had been blessed by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Although as a child I had often heard tales of miracles performed by the righteous, and had also seen my grandfather do them, this miracle made an indelible impression on me: here was a righteous man in Brooklyn, capable of performing great miracles with a few words. Somewhere in my subconscious, I began to make a connection with the Rebbe, and I was convinced that he was the greatest righteous man standing for the protection of all Jews.

During my service in the army, I happened to come across the newspaper “Sihat ha-Geulah,” which was distributed in Tverya by Rabbi Yehoshua Taib. From it I learned about the miracles that occur in our time after turning to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, King Moshiach SHLITA, with the help of Igrot Kodesh and about the Rebbe being with us and being Moshiach. At that time, I was serving under difficult conditions with great physical and spiritual pressure and so I decided to ask the Rebbe for his blessing. The response I received struck me — the Rebbe described a situation exactly the same as mine, and I decided to begin studying Chassidism of Chabad. From that moment a revolution began in my life.

I had always been a spiritual person, but although I studied the Kabbalah books of the Sephardic sages, I always felt the absence of something important. I kept writing to the Rebbe and always received accurate answers. I would like to emphasize that when I received an information at the very beginning that the Rebbe was Moshiach, it gave me the strength to change my worldview and to become a Chassid of Chabad.

After completing my military service, I found myself at a crossroads: either to choose an academic career or to go to yeshiva. I wrote the Rebbe to the King Moshiach about my doubts, and received a shocking answer that people from Morocco should study in a Chabad yeshiva!

The Rebbe explained that this was due to the fact that Jews in Morocco studied the inner Torah for a long time and were closely connected to the righteous. In 1996, I entered a yeshiva in Safed. Three years later, I went to study with the Rebbe at “770” for a year and a half, and then returned as the Rebbe’s messenger to the yeshivas of Safed, Haifa and Katamon. After my marriage, I studied for four years at the kolel in Kfar Chabad and passed the rabbinical exam.

Today I run a yeshiva in Kfar Saba with about 15 students, and in my spare time I give lessons on Chassidism, participate in radio programs and publish articles on the Internet.

I am also busy spreading the miracles that are happening in our time, which the Rebbe instructed me to do in numerous letters, beginning with the miracles during the Persian Gulf War, and also writing topical articles about what is happening today in the Arab countries. After all, the Rebbe writes (23 Kislev 5752) that “It is necessary to make public the miracles that the Almighty shows us today, as it affects the coming of the Redemption.”

During my six years in yeshiva, I discontinued my interest in security issues and devoted my time entirely to Torah study and prayer. This was in spite of the fact that I was an information processing specialist in the army and my unit was to be deployed to Iraq to search for missile launchers, and I also had access to classified information that allowed me to observe the miracles that occurred at the time.

In 2003, the world was threatened with a second Gulf War against Iraq. Newspapers and radio began to report on the threat of chemical and biological weapons and then my friends asked me to speak about the Rebbe’s attitude toward such a situation in order to reassure people. At first I refused, but when they opened a gas mask distribution point in Kfar Chabad, I decided to ask the Rebbe. The reply (Vol. 23, p. 203) stated, “I confirm receiving the letter... and also the book ‘Nuclear War and Peace’... Thank you for the past and also for the future, for surely you will continue in this direction...”

The lecture was very successful and I was invited to speak again... A few months later I published a brochure “The Miracles of War in the Persian Gulf.” I was very familiar with this topic from my time in the army. Before this, I received a reply from the Rebbe: “A very good decision to publish the brochure ... only with and on the condition that the material for it should not be compiled in a hurry.” In carrying out this instruction, I conducted in-depth research in which I read thousands of pages of various materials from the archives of the American army, the UN, documents seized in Iraq, and other sources. This allowed me to cite authentic sources in the public domain. After I published the first article of the future brochure, I received the Rebbe’s response (Vol. 5, p. 246): “I was very glad to see and read the first article, and it strengthens my confidence that the work will now continue at a steady and rapid pace. And that is something that thousands of Chassidim and ordinary Jews look forward to...”.

I then asked the Rebbe if I should use the knowledge I gained in the army to publish articles on the subject of security and protection of the Holy Land, while keeping secret information private. The Rebbe replied (Vol. 20, pp. 214-215): “It is understandable that your hesitation about the need to engage in the subject is surprising... and for several reasons, and first of all, because it is a necessary thing and also because you have already gained experience in the subject. Therefore, it will be good if you continue it...”

The Rebbe also mentioned the powers given to me for this and asked me to avoid doubts. After that, I received several more positive answers from the Rebbe on this subject.

Rabbi Avishay Ifargon — an expert in military and security affairs, Rosh Yeshivat Chabad Darchey Tmimim

Translated by D. Bilyayev From Мой путь из армии в ХАБАД Comments: 0

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