By Rav Michael
You may think that army preparation has to do with getting in good physical shape. You are right but there is much more. It’s true that you need to be in good shape before service in order to try out for good units. But what about your mental shape when facing various challenges. What about your spiritual level in the army. The fact is that many young men fall in their religious observance at a time when keeping it up would be the greatest merit possible. Many young men become discouraged by the tedious grinding schedule and environment. Some even ask themselves “why did I decide to serve?” A question like that may rise in the mind of a Mechina graduate in stressful situations but the answer will shoot right back and push him through even the hardest times. Their faith, determination and will help to make Mechina graduates some of the best soldiers and to take on leadership roles in the army. The percentage of Mechina graduates who become officers is much higher than in the non Mechina population. According to research published in the military journal Ma’arachot 80 percent of religious preparatory program graduates join combat units, compared to 40 percent of all soldiers, and 20 to 25 percent become officers, compared to 7 to 9 percent of all soldiers.
Know who you are! Know what you are a part of! Know what you are fighting for!
You are a soul, an integral part of the Nation of Israel which is coming to life after 2000 years of national death. You are joining the IDF in order to defend your nation and thus help along the revival of our nation in our land. This advances the fulfillment of our role in the world of being a light to all the nations by representing ultimate morality and truth.
After spending a year or a year and a half preparing spiritually, mentally and physically chances are your service will look different to you. Instead of spending 3 years (more or less) out of necessity to do your service like everyone else, it will turn into 3 years of choice in which you will be able to fulfill mitzvot and goals not possible to achieve in civilian life. One of our graduates called me up and said he was the only religious guy in his unit and one of the only motivated people in his platoon. The soldiers are now looking up to him.
In short preparation for your army service will help you achieve a good unit, enhance your ability to handle hardships and challenges and push you forward to serve as a excellent soldier and serve as a model to your fellow soldiers.
To learn more about a great Israeli Army prep program go to http://www.aliyah18.org