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The Systems of the Jewish Year

Yaakov Avinu and Gaza

By Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Being that we have the privilege of living in Israel , I’ve been getting many calls from concerned friends and family that want to know the feeling in Israel over the war in Gaza. Truth be told, I am no political expert (I hope the people making the decisions are) and everyone has access these days to the same news feeds that I have.

There are however two aspects of the ‘feelings of the people’ in this war that may not be coming across internationally.

Yesterday there was a man in my home in Jerusalem who described himself as completely secular. As we spoke, his cell phone beeped to let him know that there was a new development in the war. Everyone here is glued to the news. We were informed that a Katyusha rocket was fired from Lebanon into Israel and had just fallen on a senior citizen residence in Nahariya. Moments before, the elderly residents left their rooms and the lobby to congregate in the dining room for breakfast. As the last resident entered the dining room the rest of the building blew up.

From the Jerusalem post:

At Nahariya retirement home, breakfast brings a narrow escape.
Ten minutes made the difference between life and death for Batya Masor, 68, who was not in her second-floor bedroom in a Nahariya retirement home Thursday when a Katyusha rocket crashed through it.

Tili Arizon, 78, in the retirement home she lives in which was hit by a rocket fired from south Lebanon, in Nahariya, Thursday.
“At 7:30 a.m. I left my room and went downstairs to breakfast,” Masor said. In the dining room, she sat down at a table and began to chat with her friends. “Suddenly there was a loud explosion and the room filled with smoke,” she said. “If I had stayed upstairs 10 minutes longer, I would be dead.” “It’s a miracle that people didn’t die,” said Hava Carmeli, the home’s owner.

My ‘secular’ visitor immediately commented that here in Eretz Yisroel “Elokim” intercepts each and every rocket that is thrown at us and places it where He sees fit. Everyone who lives here knows that this is so. It is a miracle of Biblical proportion!

There is, however, an even greater phenomenon which is taking place here.

As of this writing the people of Israel have lost eight wonderful young men in battle. These men bravely gave their lives to protect us. Their eternal reward is unimaginable. I remember the feeling last week when the first soldier fell in battle. To the man in the street in Israel – at that moment we lost the war! Everyone felt as if it was or her son or brother that fell. The nation became depressed, nervous and shocked over the loss of one of our brothers. No one would dare say, “it was only one”. And so it was with the tragic death of every soldier. On a political level, this worked against us – the terrorists know how much we value every single neshama and how easy it is to ruin our morale. On the other hand this was a beautiful demonstration of what the Jewish people are.!

There are so many divisions between the people in this country. Religious, political and ethnic difference barrage the mind and news of every citizen. Yet, when someone gets hurt everyone cries. This is why we are still here to tell the story.

Yaakov Avinu gave his life to connect his children and thereby connect the Jewish People for all of eternity. There were great personality, political and even religious differences between the Tribes of Israel; Yaakov himself pointed these differences out before he left this world. Nevertheless, his very complex goal was accomplished. She’eris Yisroel! We are all attached at the hip. We are all made of one Neshama. One Jew is the nerve endings of his brother or sister. When a fellow Jew is killed we all feel it in our bones. It actually hurts.

May Hashem help our people that we should see the day where we feel the happiness of our brothers and sisters deep with in us. May Hashem bless us all with peace!

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