Important Israel Message

What's happening:

What has happened is terrible and heartbreaking.  Israel just experienced its 9/11.  The scale of this terrorist attack in Israel is unprecedented.  Just before the holiday, I received a poster from a charity in Israel with names and faces of all 1,707 terror victims from the past 23 years.  Now, in one day, over 700 of our brothers and sisters have been savagely murdered and added to this list of Jewish terror victims in Israel, Hy"d.  

In addition to the 700 murdered, there are over 100 hostages (men, women, children, elderly).  The situation is chaotic and everyone wants to know what they can do.

What we can do:
Every person has their place.  The soldiers need to fight, the strategists need to strategize and the diplomats need to diplomatize.  What about me and you?

The easiest thing we can do is send money.  We can support organizations that buy blankets for terror victims, and that's a good thing, but I think they need something in addition to that...

A few things:

While this is the worst terror attack in Israel's history, it's by far not the first tragedy to befall the Jewish people.  From the Pharoah in Egypt, to the Persians, Greeks, and Romans, to the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, the Chelmnikis and millennia of pogroms, to the Nazis, the Soviets, and since the 1900's Arab wars and terror, we have had guidance from great rabbis and leaders in the worst of situations.

In generations past communal fast days were not an uncommon response.  For our generation however, the Rebbe rejected this response. 

The Torah teaches us that the physical world and the spiritual worlds are intimately connected.  The mitzvahs that we do have a material impact in the physical world.  Yes, mitzvahs are real and they have a real impact in the material world.

And each mitzvah has its unique channel and parallel on high.  Specific mitzvahs are more appropriate for each unique situation.  There are some generic mitzvahs that are go-to-mitzvahs for simple people like you and me (Increasing study of Torah, Prayer (especially Psalms), and Tzedakah) but holy people (like the Rebbe) who have an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the spiritual worlds can give more specific guidance.  

Here are some action highlights:
  • 1967, Six Day War, Tefillin- Before, during and after the Six Day War, The Rebbe encouraged Jewish men (especially soldiers) to put on Tefillin.  He quoted the Talmud which connects Tefillin with the enemies of the Jews fearing us.  
  • 1973, Yom Kippur War-Children's Torah verses & Shabbos candles- Two months before the devastating surprise attack on Israel (the attack yesterday was actually exactly 50 years on the secular calendar since the Yom Kippur war) the Rebbe started a campaign for Jewish children to recite verses from the Torah at children's rallies.  He later explained that he didn't know what drove him to talk about this until after the war started.  He quoted a verse from Psalms, "Our strength is from the mouths of our children, to overcome our enemies."  Later that year, the Rebbe called for all Jewish women to light Shabbos candles.  The Rebbe spoke about how the acronym for Shabbos candles is the Hebrew word for weapons (נרות שבת קודש- נש"ק).  
  • 1991, Gulf War, Confidence- When Saddam Hussein was threatening to send chemical weapons on his scud missiles, Jews in Israel were terrified.  The Rebbe was unequivocally clear that there was nothing to fear, Israel is the safest place in the world, and that he was taking personal responsibility for their safety.  I do not have shoulders like the Rebbe to take personal responsibility for anyone, but Bitachon, trusting in G-d that things will be good is true and relevant today and every day.
In summary, here is what you can do: 
  1. Donate money to good Israel aid organizations
  2. Give our brothers and sisters spiritual aid by increasing mitzvahs
  3. Specifically, (1) increasing Torah study (2) Prayer, especially Psalms (3) Tzedakah- charity
  4. Even more specifically:
    1. Men put on Tefillin
    2. Women light Shabbos candles
    3. Rally children to say words of Torah (especially the 12 verses)
    4. Trust in G-d.
Finally, this is a time to increase in Ahavas Yisroel, love for our fellow Jews.  Unfortunately, in the past year, Israeli news has been dominated by what divides us.  From judicial reform and political differences, to recently the division of religious and secular with hateful acts perpetrated by Jews on Jews for religious differences and indifferences.

Now is a time to speak about how we are all one.  We all posses that same G-dly soul, and regardless of our external differences, this soul bond connects us at a level even deeper than biological brothers and sisters.

In the spirit of unity and brotherly and sisterly Jewish love,


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