In his classic treatise, OROT, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook explains that war is one of the ways that G-d advances the Redemption of Israel. While Rabbi Kook wrote his essays on war during the First World War, his profound Torah insights pertain all the more to our situation today, when the Israel Defense Forces are fighting to defend the Jewish People in the Promised Land.
... it is important to understand that the ideal world we long for can come through the upheavals of war. Just as there are times of light and times of darkness, there are times of peace and times of war. In the midst of the horrors of World War One, Rabbi Kook wrote:
"When there is a great war in the world, the power of the Messiah awakens."
... When looked at through the perspective of Torah, war also possesses a positive value. War ushers in Messiah. Even through the destruction of war, the light of Messiah appears. The power of Messiah is released when a great war grips the world. In fact, the greater the magnitude and force of the war, the greater the revelation of Messiah that follows.
... The Talmud in tractate Sanhedrin describes the terrible times which will accompany the advent of the Messiah. Rabbi Yochanan teaches that if one sees a generation with great tribulations, one can expect the Messiah to come. He sees ahead to the light at the end of the tunnel. This is the same encompassing vision which enables Rabbi Kook to see the coming of Messiah in a world darkened by war.
... Rabbi Kook's vision is rooted in the teachings of our Sages. The Gemara states that "War is also the beginning of Redemption." There, the Talmud says the Messiah comes after a period of struggle and war. The Midrash teaches that if you see the empires of the world waging war against each other, you should expect the "footsteps of Messiah." The Rambam tells us that one of Messiah's premier tasks is to fight the wars of God. In our daily prayers, we proclaim that "God is the Master of wars."
... Rabbi Kook tells us that when there are great international upheavals like wars, in accordance with the magnitude of the conflict, the Redemption of Israel progresses toward its destined perfection. This is precisely what occurred in Rabbi Kook's time.
The Balfour Declaration, which recognized the right of the Jewish people to Eretz (the Land of) Yisrael, was a direct result of the First World War. As an outcome of the war, the British were left in charge of Israel to facilitate the birth of a Jewish State. G-d overthrew the Turks, who had scorn for the Bible, and replaced them with Englishmen who supported the Jewish people's Biblical claim to the Land.
The result of World War II marked an additional step forward in Israel's developmental process – the foundation of Medinat Yisrael (the State of Israel.)
These modern hallmarks of Jewish history, and their connection to the wars which preceded them, are obvious discernible facts. While textbooks and erudite historians may expound a plethora of social, political, and economic theories in explaining these World Wars, the discerning Jewish eye can see a more exalted plan. The World Wars in our time were the instruments God used to re-establish the nation of Israel in its Promised Land.
... Thus, when Rabbi Kook looks at the First World War through the glasses of Jewish world history, he knows that the war's outcome will be beneficial to Israel. He knows that the war has come to facilitate the political redemption of the Jewish people and to lead us back to sovereignty over our Land.
Rabbi Kook continues:
"The time of the songbird has come, the weeding of tyrants. The evil ones are obliterated from the world, the world becomes perfected, and the voice of the turtle-dove is heard in our Land."
... Each new war brings another stage of Redemption. From World War One and the Balfour Declaration, we advance to World War Two and the establishment of the Jewish State. The miraculous Six-Day War brings us to the reunification of Jerusalem and the recapture of Judea and Samaria, Aza and the Golan. Once again, we made a giant leap forward through war.
What does this insight mean for today? G-d willing, our war against Arab terror will uproot all of the tyrants and purveyors of murder, and find us once again in possession of all of our Biblical lands.