Should one set up advanced security measures in their Chabad house?



Should one set up advanced security measures (guards, weapons, training, etc.) in their shul/Chabad house? Included in this question: there is already a Mezuzah. Why doesn’t that offer enough protection? And if it does, why would one need to take such measures?



I’ll start off with an anecdote:

A man was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to G-d for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “jump in, I can save you.” The stranded man shouted back, “no, it’s OK, I’m praying to G-d and he is going to save me.” So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “jump in, I can save you.” To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to G-d and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to G-d and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went “upstairs”. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with G-d, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this G-d replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”


And now to answer your question:

The Torah instructs us to protect our lives in every way possible, spiritual and physical. Obviously, in the event of physical danger r”l, in addition to applying spiritual protection, we must do all we can to protect ourselves in a physical way, following standard security procedures. (This should be discussed with the local security agencies, police department, etc., in conjunction with the local Rav/Shliach).

One can ask the same question regarding Hashem’s protection in general: we are promised that “the guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps”. Should that mean that we should not apply physical protection as well? Should a Jewish soldier not wear a helmet? Obviously not.

So too in regards to mezuzah: we are taught that the mitzvah of mezuzah brings longevity to those who keep it, and even more –  it provides protection to the house and its residents (even when they are outside of the house), and to all Yidden throughout the world. However, in the event of physical danger r”l, we must apply physical protection in addition to making sure we have kosher mezuzahs affixed to our doorposts. This does not in any way imply that the mezuza is an insufficient measure of protection, rather, that Hashem will help our standard security procedures in the merit of the mezuza.

We find a similar idea regarding parnasa: while the Torah teaches us that it is Hashem’s blessing which gives a person parnasa, everyone understands that this blessing needs a “vessel” in which to rest. For someone to say that he won’t work because he is relying on Hashem’s Bracha is foolish and wrong. So too we must take natural measures in security issues, and one who refrains from doing this is held responsible.

A story to illustrate: there was a chosid who experienced a break-in to his vehicle and asked the Rebbe (amongst other things) if he should check his mezuzas. The Rebbe answered that he should make sure the vehicle is locked at night.



אף שהובטחנו (תהלים קכא, ד) שלא ינום ולא יישן וכו’, פשוט שכ”ז לא שייך להגנה ע”פ דרך הטבע, וכפס”ד תוה”ק בשו”ע או”ח סימן שכט ועוד מקומות, וכמבואר בלקו”ש ח”ג ע’ 837 ולעניננו בחי”ג ע’ 212. וראה שם המשל של הקסדא, ובארוכה יותר במכתב כ”ק אד”ש נדפס (בתרגום מאנגלית) במורה לדור נבוך ח”ג ע’ 225. וראה בארוכה בהנסמן בלקו”ש חל”ו ע’ 6 הערה 48. ומקרא מלא דיבר הכתוב (תהלים קכז, א): אם ה׳ לא ישמור עיר שוא שקד שומר. והיינו שיש מקום לשומר, אלא שצ״ל גם ובעיקר שמירת השם. ואין סומכין על הנס. וראה גם ירושלמי יומא א, ד. ולהעיר מברכות טז, סע״ב ובפירש״י ד״ה ואע״ג דקיימי קצוצי. וראה רבינו בחיי פרשת נח ו, טו בטעם שנצטוינו במלחמה. ועיקר הענין נתבאר בארוכה בשיחת פורים תשכ״ה (תורת מנחם חמ”ג ע׳ 37). וראה גם שיחת יט״כ תשל״ד.

הסגולה במצות מזוזה – דברים יא, כא. עבודה זרה יא, ב. מנחות לג, ב. פי’ המהרש”א שם. תוס’ מנחות מד, א ד”ה טלית. זוהר ח”ג רסג, ב. נצו”א שם. לקוטי לוי”צ לזהר שם ע’ נט. סידור האריז”ל (כוונת המזוזה). משנת חסידים מס’ מזוזה פ”ג מ”ט. טושו”ע יו”ד סי’ רפה. וראה פי’ הב”י, ב”ח, פרישה וט”ז שם. ובארוכה בלקוטי שיחות חי”ט ע’ קכא ואילך (ובהנסמן שם). שיחות ש”פ בהו”ב וחג השבועות תשל”ד. ש”פ מטו”מ, אור ליום כט תמוז וש”פ חזון תשל”ו. ועוד.