Inspiring Anecdote from the Recent War. Operation Protective Edge, Divine Providence, and Keeping the Commandments
(5 September, 2014, 10 Elul, 5774)
Wriiten by Yair Davidiy. Source: Marveh LeTsameh, Parshat Reah, S. Shvartzman.
During the Feast of Passover (Pesach) it is forbidden to eat leavened bread.
15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel.
That is why Jews eat Matsot.
Preparing Matsot requires the keeping of numerous stringencies.
In short flour and water should not be mixed and left unattended for more than a few minutes before being baked in an oven.
Ultra-Religious Jews do not use wheat that has ripened and not been harvested and then gotten wet.
This year is the year before the Sabbatical Year (Shmittah). Next year harvesting grain etc is forbidden.
Therefore this year wheat for matsot needs to be prepared for next year and the year after it, i.e. for 2 years.
Usually the wheat is harvested in the summer before July. This year in May unexpected rains had caused a dampness rendering the wheat unsuitable. A search was made of the country for wheat that would not have been so affected.
Suitable fields were found in the Jewish settlements bordering the Gaza Strip.
Arrangements were made, the wheat was purchased, and harvesting began under supervision. The harvesting was completed despite the outbreak of hostilities and Operation Protective Edge. In face of army movements and Hamas rockets being fired all over the place especially in the south the harvest was brought in.
A little later, the following event occurred as reported in the news:
Tunnel infiltration thwarted near Kibbutz Sufa
Attempt to kill and perhaps abduct Israelis foiled when 13 armed men were spotted emerging from a tunnel inside Israel near Kibbutz Sufa
By Mitch Ginsburg July 17, 2014, 8:25 am 57
The Israeli army thwarted a large-scale infiltration attempt along the Gaza border, during which 13 armed Palestinians emerged from a tunnel on the Israeli side of the border at dawn Thursday, an army spokesperson said.
The spokesperson described the attack as in line with a series of other thwarted attacks over the past 10 days of warfare, including two infiltration attempts from the sea near Kibbutz Zikim, a tunnel near Kerem Shalom, and a drone attack earlier this week.
The IDF action that stopped the infiltration attempt before it was sprung 'was obviously a huge success,' said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.
The gunmen, he said, emerged from the tunnel early Thursday some 250 meters inside Israel. Lying flat on the ground, in an open area two kilometers from Kibbutz Sufa in the Eshkol region, the 13 armed men were spotted by what Lerner termed 'different sensors.'
Realizing that they had been discovered, they attempted to run back underground but were struck by Israeli aircraft. Lerner said some had been hit but he could not state how many.
Israeli military sources said the gunmen evidently planned to attack the kibbutz, killing and possibly kidnapping civilians.
The tunnel is part of a network of underground channels, laboriously dug, as offensive lanes into Israel. In June 2006 two Israeli soldiers were killed in an ambush that began via a tunnel in the same region, and a third, Gilad Shalit, was captured and taken back to Gaza. His exchange, five and a half years later, for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, is considered one of Hamas's crowning achievements.
What had happened?
Note that the terrorists had been spotted,
# Lying flat on the ground, in an open area two kilometers from Kibbutz Sufa #
They had been caught in an open area.
Later intelligence said that they had expected the area to be covered by a wheat field with the stalks standing high.
Once they realized they were exposed in the open they attempted to backtrack but were caught.
The Arabs had dug the tunnel some time ago. Their information was that the opening of the tunnel was in a wheat field. The Jewish owner could be relied open not to harvest the wheat but to let it stand (as in the past) for a good while. The Arabs intended to use the high standing wheat as cover to crawl into the kibbutz and kill and capture Jewish civilians.
Due to the Ultra-Orthodox buying the wheat and urgently INSISTING that it be harvested straight away the cover had been removed. One of the farmers whose wheat had been harvested remarked:
\#This is the first time that my wheat was harvested for the sake of a mitsvah [fulfilling a commandment]. Previously it had been sent to the big bakeries. This time it was harvested for the sake of a mitsvah... #
One of the matsah overseers involved said:
# This was for matsah shmirah [matsah that has been guarded]. This time it was certainly guarded. It guarded us more than we guarded it.