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Monday, January 05, 2009

It’s The Least We Can Do!

Last night my son Eliyahu was in a taxi in Yerushalayim on a “Your man in Jerusalem” mission and the driver shared with him his beautiful simcha. His wife had given birth to a baby just two weeks earlier.

During their short conversation the taxi driver received a phone call from the Israeli Army. He was instructed to report for reserve duty on a particular corner of Jerusalem at midnight last night, where he would be taken into the Gaza Strip. He told Eliyahu that he is a tank driver and an expert in the area of the Gaza Strip battlefield. He also told him that his name is Yaakov ben Tikva. Eliyahu said he will keep him in his prayers. I have been doing the same.

During the Second Lebanon War my wife Bayle said to me that everyone of us that is not actually fighting the war should adopt one Israeli soldier to care about, pray for and study Torah in his zchus.

Today I learned that thanks to the wonders of modern technology the mechanism has been put into place and “Operation Tefillah, Torah & Troops,” has been launched. Endorsed and guided by Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook, the Chief Rabbi of Rehovot, Israel, and the Bostoner Rebbe (Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Horowitz) of Har Nof, Israel, people from around the world are partnered with soldiers in the IDF. Each person who takes part in “Operation Tefillah, Torah & Troops” is paired with an Israeli soldier, and is responsible to say tefillot (prayers), learn Torah, and do special acts of chesed (kindness) on behalf of that soldier.

Rabbi Kook and the Bostoner Rebbe note that this concept is one that has been a part of the Jewish people for thousands of years. When Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses) led the Jewish people to war with the nation of Midyon, for every person who went to battle, there was a designated person who was responsible for praying and learning for him. Throughout his reign, David HaMelech (King David) utilized this practice as well.

To participate in “Operation Tefillah, Torah & Troops” and receive the name of an Israeli soldier who needs your prayers,
send an e-mail to the office of Rabbi Kook at

Every tefillah makes a difference! It’s the least we can do.

Posted on 01/05 at 03:00 PM • Permalink
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Meet Rabbi Yaacov Haber

Rabbi Yaacov HaberRabbi Haber has been a leading force in Jewish Outreach for the past 25 years. A founding trustee of AJOP, the Association of Jewish Outreach Professionals, he was the founder and director of the Torah Center of Buffalo from 1980-1990 while serving as a community rabbi in Buffalo. From Buffalo he and his family traveled to Melbourne, Australia where as a project of Kollel Bais HaTalmud he founded the Australian Institute of Torah, a national outreach and adult education program. He directed that program from 1990-1995, at which time he was sought out as National Director of Jewish Education for the Orthodox Union in the United States where he created the Internationally acclaimed and highly successful "Pardes Project."

In addition to his duties at the OU, in 1996 he replaced Rabbi Berel Wein as the spiritual leader of Congregation Bais Torah in Monsey, NY. In keeping with the position of Congregation Bais Torah in the Monsey community, Rabbi Haber was involved in issues involving the greater Monsey community, and counseled hundreds of individuals in the surrounding area.

Rabbi Yaacov Haber is the founder and driving force behind TorahLab. Through TorahLab, Rabbi Haber is bringing together educational and media specialists to create dynamic learning experiences which will be accessible to adults of all backgrounds and levels. Rabbi Haber has published numerous articles and books and is a sought after international lecturer.

Rabbi Haber and his family are presently living in Ramat Beit Shemesh where he is the Rabbi of Kehillas Shivtei Yeshurun.

Rabbi Haber can be contacted at