We Are Counting on YOU!
The war that broke out on Simchat Torah affects every Jew and Bnei Noach, not just those living in Israel. Read the inside story of what one family experienced and what we can do to help the war effort. Each and every one of us counts!!
Shabbat Simchat Torah morning 5784. I am woken from my sleep by air raid sirens. I grab the baby from the crib and run into the hallway as my girls wake up and do the same. We’re sitting on the floor, hearts pounding, foggy, trying to wake up, trying to figure out what exactly is happening. I’m thinking about my husband and son already dancing in shul (synagogue) with Rabbi Arush, glad they are also together.
Siren after siren goes off over the next couple hours. We sit in the hallway with prayer books and Psalms, not even bothering to leave. At some point I decided that anyway, we’re going to shul to pray with the tzaddik. Our preparations are interrupted a few times by sirens. Eventually we managed to get out the door and walk to shul. On our way, a number of police cars drive by, including one who stops, yells at everyone on the street that we’re in a war and they need to go home and get inside!
I am grateful that there were no sirens on the way to shul. We come inside, pray, and dance. At Kiddush, Rabbi Arush speaks of the great need for dancing, mentioning Rebbe Nachman’s teaching that “dancing and clapping hands sweeten judgements.” He also mentions that when someone is suffering, dancing can help lighten the pain in his heart.
While we are dancing, people arrive with all sorts of terrible news. I try to ignore it as much as I can, focusing instead on the joy of the holiday. There will be plenty of time for the tragedies – right now, my mitzvah is to dance and sweeten the judgements… I tell my terrified children that it’s just “telephone tag” and it’s not really that bad…
We come home and eat a solemn meal, thanking Hashem for the quiet, and for going and returning from shul safely. By that evening we begin to realize just how much of the nightmare is real…
By now we all know that this war is serious business. This is not just a war against the south or the State of Israel, but against every Jew for simply existing. Not since the Holocaust have so many Jews died in one day. A friend told me that her 94-year-old father-in-law fought in the War of Independence and said that what happened was worse even than those experiences back then, and that what Hamas did to the Jews they killed was even more brutal than his own already horrific memories.
This is a real war, and we need every single Jew to fight it!
What we need is your mitzvot! Please, you must do something for us, for the soldiers! Take upon yourself to light candles on Friday night on time or a bit earlier. Say Psalms. Something, anything, whatever – you must do it! You must fight for the Jewish people – the voice is Jacob, our power is in our mouths to pray to Hashem and in our mitzvot!
I went shopping today and there was no parking for almost a mile. There is no bottled water in the entire country. There is almost no canned food left to buy. The entire country is being asked to prepare for even 3+ days locked in a bomb shelter with no water or electricity – without supplies to buy…
We are being pushed WAY past our abilities to manage.
Granted that you can’t airlift me bottled water right now, so I ask – each and every one must do what they can! Not just with your pockets but with your neshama, with your soul! You must also fight this war, no one is exempt!
Can you learn Torah? LEARN!
Can you pray Psalms, even in English – SAY TEHILLIM! EVEN ONE!
Can you put on tefillin? DO IT!
Can you take upon yourself to light Shabbat candles? DO IT!
Men, can you take upon yourself to wear tzitzit like the thousands of non-religious soldiers that now want to wear them, understanding their protection? WEAR IT!
Ladies, can you take upon yourself to wear a long skirt, even just today? WEAR IT!
Whatever you can, DO IT!
I heard a beautiful story tonight about Rabbi Shmuelevitz zt”l, Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir, during the airline hijacking of Sabena Flight 571 in 1972. All passengers were held hostage. Rabbi Shmuelevitz told everyone in the Mir to take one minute and imagine that it was his own mother, father, brother, sister, son, or daughter on that plane. And then he led everyone in saying Psalms together. Someone who was there said that the walls and the windows shook, as everyone cried and roared the Psalms. And that night, all passengers were rescued alive.
During the Yom Kippur war, there were lines around the block to put tefillin on.
This is what we must do now! Everyone must fight with the only weapons we truly have – prayer and mitzvot.
We are all in this war together. We are responsible one for the other. Push yourself past your abilities!
We are counting on you!!!
Rachel Avrahami grew up in Los Angeles, CA, USA in a far-off valley where she was one of only a handful of Jews in a public high school of thousands. She found Hashem in the urban jungle of the university. Rachel was privileged to read one of the first copies of The Garden of Emuna in English, and the rest, as they say, is history. She made Aliyah and immediately began working at Breslev Israel.
Rachel is now the Editor of Breslev Israel’s English website. She welcomes questions, comments, articles, and personal stories to her email: email@example.com.