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    The Sefer Ha’Ikrim
    teaches: Just as we are
    certain the sun will shine
    tomorrow morning, that
    is the degree of
    certainty we should
    have that Hashem will
    help us.
    In fact, we are so
    confident that Hashem
    will help that we can
    rejoice with Hashem’s
    salvation even before it
    The Brisker Rav
    taught (Tehillim 37:3-
    2), trust in Hashem,
    and rejoice with the
    salvation you are sure will come. In the merit of
    your high level of bitachon, Hashem will grant
    you all your heart’s desires.
    Once, there was a commotion in the beis
    medresh of the Brisker Rav in the city Brisk.
    The yungerleit were animatedly discussing
    something that occurred the previous night in
    their city. The Brisker Rav zt’l asked them what
    it’s about. They told him about the chillul
    Hashem and the disgrace of Torah that took
    place in their city.
    Non-religious elements of Brisk conducted a
    play, acting out a Jewish war. A large number of
    soldiers stood at attention, and the general
    announced, “Whoever built a new house…
    should return home” (see 20:5), and some of
    the soldiers left.
    “Whoever planted a new vineyard should
    return home,” and a few more soldiers left.
    “Whoever is newly married should return
    home,” and a few more soldiers left.
    Then the general said, “Whoever is afraid of
    war should go home,” and everyone ran away.
    Only two old, hunchbacked soldiers remained,
    and they were honoring each other, each
    wanting that the other get the honor of taking
    the “first shot.”
    The people in the beis medresh were upset
    that the irreligious people of Brisk were making
    fun of the Torah.
    The Brisker Rav told them, “Actually,
    everything was exactly as they acted it out,
    only they left out the main part. Those two
    elderly Yidden won the war.”
    Those who are afraid of war because of their
    aveiros should return home. As it states (20:8),
    “Whoever is afraid, and is fainthearted should
    return home.” Rashi explains, “He is afraid
    because he has aveiros.”
    The Gemara (Sotah 44.) says, even if someone
    spoke between tefillin shel yad and tefillin shel
    rosh can return home.
    The Rebbe of Kotzk zt’l (Siach Sarfei Kodesh,
    end of Shoftim) asks that from a few pesukim
    earlier (20:3), it seems that all one needs is the
    merit of saying Shema, and that is sufficient to
    be saved. So, why do we now say that the
    slightest transgression is a reason to be afraid

    and return home?
    The Kotzker zt’l answers: To win a war, you
    need either bitachon or to be clean from all
    aveiros. If a person has bitachon and believes
    that in the merit of saying Shema, Hashem will

    help him in the war, it will be so. But if a person
    doesn’t have this feeling of trust and certainty
    and lacks bitachon, he must be totally clean
    from sin to win the war. Therefore, even for the
    minutest aveirah, he should return home.