Rabbi Mayer Twersky
Miracles and Mourning
The juxtaposition of miracles and mourning R"l in the war against Hamas is, primo facie, religiously confusing. The benevolent yad Hashem has been evident in all quarters - on the battlefield, by those operating the Iron Dome, and, indeed, throughout the country. Eyewitness accounts of miraculous stories abound. On the one hand,"חסדי ה' כי לא תמנו כי לא כלו רחמיו - The kindnesses of Hashem are limitless; His mercy is never exhausted". And yet sixty four soldiers and three citizens have lost their lives. Klal Yisrael mourns sixty seven incalculable, tragic losses. השביעני במרורים; He has filled me with bitterness. Religiously, the juxtaposition of miracles and mourning does not seem to paint a coherent picture.
HKBH's ways are hidden. This dvar Torah does not aim to explain. Instead it seeks to provide a coherent, meta-historical, conceptual framework for experiencing miracles and mourning simultaneously.
The Gift of Eretz Yisrael
At the dawn of our history, HKBH appeared to Avraham Avinu and gave him and his descendants Eretz Yisrael. At the beginning of that prophetic vision, dread and intense darkness enveloped Avraham Avinu.
Ramban, quoting Chazal, explains the prefigurative significance of the dread and darkness.
Eretz Yisrael is eternally ours. When, however, Rachmana litzlan, we sin, we suffer at the hand of the world's "kingdoms." The dread and darkness which enveloped Avraham Avinu foretold that suffering.
Punishment and Compassion
"His left hand is under my head, while His right hand embraces me"
In the Torah and words of Chazal, left often represents strict justice, while right represents kindness. With this symbolism in mind, Alshich HaKadosh interprets the above verse:
וזהו שמאלו תחת לראשי שמאל דוחה ואעפ'כ ימינו תחבקני כי בכמה דברים הוא ית' מטיב אותנו בתוך הצרות
Even when Hakadosh Baruch Hu is "forced" by our shortcomings to allow suffering (שמאלו תחת לראשי), he simultaneously bestows kindness (וימינו תחבקני).
Suffering and Providence
Klal Yisrael's suffering should never be dismissively, solely attributed to geopolitics and vicious anti-Semitism. These are real factors. But there is always a metaphysical reason as well which allows these evil forces to surface.
Rambam articulates this philosophy of Jewish history in his comments on the mitzvah of sounding the trumpets and crying out in prayer in times of trouble.
שבזמן שתבוא צרה ויזעקו עליה ויריעו וידעו הכל שבגלל מעשיהם הרעים הורע להן ככתוב (ירמיהו ה) 'עונותיכם הטו וגו' וזה הוא שיגרום להם להסיר הצרה מעליהם. אבל אם לא יזעקו ולא יריעו אלא יאמרו דבר זה ממנהג העולם אירע לנו וצרה זו נקרה נקרית, הרי זו דרך אכזריות וגורמת להם להדבק במעשיהם הרעים, ותוסיף הצרה צרות אחרות.
It is understandably difficult for us to admit that we have sinned. It is, however, intolerably cruel for us not to do so. Collectively, we have sinned; collectively, we suffer. I am not Rachmana litzlan suggesting any individual correlation between sin and the death of the sixty seven kedoshim Hy"d. Hakadosh Baruch Hu's ways are hidden; we do not know why these sixty seven were chosen to die al kiddush Hashem.
Avraham Avinu's prophecy has once again materialized. Yishmael (Islam), part of the fourth Kingdom, launches missiles and has inflicted the tragic casualties of war. We mourn sixty seven priceless, precious neshamos.
These past few weeks have been a time of relative darkness and left-handed treatment. Nevertheless remarkably b'chasdei Hashem, even now, we unambiguously see HaKadosh Baruch Hu's loving right-handed embrace in the form of numerous miracles.
 Eichah 3:22
 Ibid 3:16. Artscroll translation.
 Breishis 15:12. Artscroll translation.
 בפי' עה'ת . Artscroll translation.
 Shir HaShirim 2:6
 For example, see Rashi Shemos 15:6 (based on the Mechilta) and Sotah 47a.
 See Alshich's commentary to Shir HaShirim, ibid. See also Meshech Chochmo, parshas Eikev, regarding the beracha of Hatov V'hameitiv.
 Rambam Hilchos Ta"aniyos 1:2-3. Translation adapted from my father's zt"l A Maimonides Reader, P. 114
represents the view of Rav Sadiah Gaon (see, e.g., his commentary to Sefer
Daniel 7:7-8), Rambam (see Igeres Teiman), and
others. In the opinion of Ibn Ezra (see his commentary, ibid 2:39), contra Chazal,
Yishmael is the fourth kingdom. Ramban (see, e.g., Sefer Hageulah,
Shaar 2, chapter 3) and other opine that Yishmael is not included in the
scheme of the four kingdoms. Daniel's vision includes only those kingdoms which
successivelly conquered Eretz Yisrael, propelling us into and prolonging
our exile. Yishmael has not played that historical role. Nonetheless the
principle of the four kingdoms applies to Yishmael. When we sin, R"l,
they do not allow us to dwell peacefully in Eretz Yisrael. According to Pirkei
D'rabi Eliezer, chapter 27, bris bein habesarim with its foretelling
of suffering alludes to the four kingdoms and, separately, Yishmael.