Givati Commander: I Try to Daven with More Kavona


oferGivati Brigade Commander Colonel Ofir Winter is calling on the tzibur to learn Torah for the success of the IDF operation. In an interview with Mishpacha, the colonel explains that he spoke with Gedolei Yisrael Shlita, asking them to be mispallel for the safety of the soldiers. Winter, who is shomer Shabbos, is among the first graduates of the Bnei David IDF Preparatory Yeshiva in Yishuv Eli and he is part of the rapidly growing dati leumi community that today represents the backbone of the IDF combat units. Winter is one of the new generation IDF soldiers, soldiers and officers who understand their weapon must be accompanied by their Tanach.

The senior officer explains that many believe the IDF’s achievements are limited and there are many deaths but this is not so. He explains it is not so and that the fighting is not really too difficult. “It is not as bad as we expected. True Hamas is a ruthless and sophisticated enemy, but B’chasdei Shomayim we are more sophisticated”.

He adds he and this mission are guided by two principles; we don’t come back without accomplishing the mission and everything is about coming back to peace. “The Gemara reaches us to return ‘’לשלום’ and not בשלום’ he explains, adding “And this is what I wrote to my soldiers too”.

Winter is not a stranger to Gedolei Yisrael, who he visits when he gets a break, updating them on the situation. He tells that he visited a number of prominent mekubalim including Rav Yaakov Addis Shlita, asking for him to be mispallel for the soldiers and the success of their mission. “They accepted my request and instructed me to accept something in return so I am concentrating and davening shachris with increased kavona”.

Winter tells it like it is, that there is a war going on and this means sleepless nights and at times, davening shachris at night. “It is hard but I know this is for the soldiers and I do my best to do this, to daven slower and with more kavona”.

For Winter and his soldiers, they are motivated despite the many who have fallen, aware of the mission and the bigger picture. He explains that davka now, during a war, the motivation is peaking and everyone wants to be part of the fighting units. For those not fighting, he calls on them to increase limudim on behalf of the soldiers. He praises his troops amid the realization each and every one is willing to give his life for his people and Eretz Yisrael.

Winter came under fire for his address to Givati soldiers before entering Gaza. He explains he took his text from the Kohen Mosuach, telling troops “Shema Yisrael, you are going to war today…” He motivated his troops by telling them they are fighting for HKBH, Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael, eliciting the ire of many a secular commander and citizen.

Winter did not back down and B”H many non-frum supported his words. Many retired senior commander explained the colonel motivated his troops and that is what counts. Some however felt he was abusing his authority to push religion down their throats.

Be that as it may, for Colonel Ofir Winter and many like him, they understand the purpose of the mission and the holiness of what is taking place. He prefers to ignore the criticism, opting to focus on the Yad Hashem and miracles that he witnesses daily.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. In the end they all see the nissim and agree with him; the question is only who of them and of US will take action or just carry on their live as before?

  2. Ofir is to be commended for his leadership & courage. May HKB”H watch over and protect him and his Unit. May HKB”H watch over & protect EVERY soldier. And may they all return victorious, save and sound BE”H. May we all see and Dihere the tremendous Hashgacha Pratis taking place.

  3. This commander really gave me encouragement because i have a hard time praying shachris . and if he can work on himself to pray better during the hell that he is in then what can my excuse be. I was so touched by this commander and i decided to also work on my prayer just in the morning and go back to shul and pray with more concentration. May god be with all us jews no matter how we dress or look.

  4. Winter is a real jew who davens with tangible sincerity (including throughout his stay in the US)

    unfortunately there is an old axiom in israel and the IDF:
    (translated)All medinot have an air force.
    In Israel,the Air force has a Medinah.

    ipso,the IAF officer corp. is still very ‘lily white’ secular
    (even the srugot are in temperature, temperament and attitude)

    and significant change will hardly be tolerated

    So if the “green” ranks are being suffused with religious,druze,russians,….,that is greeted with a condescending shrug and indifference