Helping From a Distance

Many people who live outside of Israel have come to volunteer time and expertise during the war. Volunteering made them participants rather than spectators. What can those who cannot make the trip do to help?

3 min

Dennis Rosen

Posted on 31.03.24

Yes, it is expensive, and you must spend hours cramped in an airplane. You need to disrupt your regular routine including missing multiple days of work for a trip to Israel. However, when you get there, you are so glad you came. Moreover, once you are there even for a brief time you don’t want to leave, and you start trying to figure out how quickly you can come back. 
We concentrated on volunteering during our recent trip. We packed food and prepared sandwiches for soldiers, packed food for poor people, and worked on farms to help the farmers who are desperately shorthanded. We observed up close and personal the spirit of volunteerism and ahavat Yisrael (love of the people of Israel) prevailing in Israel. Israel is a nation that is the size of the state of New Jersey, but the people have hearts that are bigger than the state of Texas both in terms of courage and compassion for others. 
Volunteering made an enormous difference. We felt like participants rather than spectators. It was very hard to leave. Now the question is what can those of us living outside Israel do to help until we are able to make the next trip? Here are a few ideas: 

There are many worthy causes and capable organizations and individuals needing our help. During family emergencies, we stretch ourselves and come up with funds beyond what we normally do. This is a family emergency.  


Plan Your Next Trip

Start making plans and preparing for a future trip to Israel. It’s such a morale booster both for you and the people living in Israel. It will also provide a much-needed boost for the economy. In the meantime, share the highlights of your previous trips with others and encourage them to visit Israel. Buy products made in Israel as much as possible. 


Dedicate your Mitzvot

In the article The Secret of the Geula, Rabbi Sholom Arush teaches that we should perform Torah study and mitzvot in partnership with all other Jews. We do this by declaring that what we are about to do is in the name of all Israel. This will have a direct impact on Hashem’s relationship with us and lead to a revelation of His love and providence. This article is foundational and transformational and is a must read. 


Rabbi Shalom Arush continues to stress the importance of allocating significant time to pray for the well-being of the Jewish people. Special emphasis should be given to ahavat Yisrael. We pray for achdut (unity) and that we should view all Jews as family treating each other with sensitivity, respect, and kindness.  

We should also try to say extra chapters of Tehillim, which are especially powerful prayers. 

Our efforts in prayer and fostering unity and mutual love within the Jewish people evoke Divine compassion as our Heavenly Father wants to see His children living in harmony. Mercy and compassion here below arouse mercy and compassion from Above. 

Torah Learning

Let’s try to allocate more time to our Torah learning even if it’s just a few minutes at a time. Every word creates a guardian angel and protection for Israel.  


Responses During Kaddish  

During the recitation of Kaddish we should respond with all our focus and strength. Our sages tell us that this can reverse harsh decrees and bring about tremendous blessing to the people of Israel. The Zohar states: “At a time when Klal Yisrael responds in a loud voice, Amen Yehei Shmei Rabba…, the Holy One Blessed is He becomes filled with compassion and He has mercy on all.” 

Answering with concentration and sincerity, is extremely important. Amen is an acronym for Keil Melech neeman, “God, the faithful King.” This expression of emuna is especially precious in the eyes of Hashem. 

Personal Holiness

The author of Shomer Emunim, stresses the great value of guarding one’s eyes. If a person walking on the street is careful not to gaze at an immodest scene, this generates enormous merit. Prayer requests at that time are favorably received and highly likely to be granted.  

In other words, we should not go looking for these tests, but we should realize when they occur this is a big “Eit Ratzon” or favorable time for prayer. We should leverage these opportunities to the hilt. 


Asher Yatzar

In this powerful blessing, we thank Hashem for our health and pray for the health of others. We should take our time and concentrate when we say this blessing and have in mind that we earnestly beseech Hashem to heal our wounded soldiers and injured civilians. 


Shmirat HaLashon (Guarding Speech)

Guarding our speech is so critical, not just to avoid harm but to generate positive impacts of healing and blessing. We do this sometimes by refraining from speech and at other times by being careful to say the right words at the right time. It is an excellent practice to read works by the Chofetz Chaim to become familiar with the laws of speech and to benefit from his words of inspiration on this subject. 


Now is a time of acute danger but also a time of great opportunity. The Jewish people are one organic whole. While it’s preferable to be in Israel, we can provide critical material and spiritual support wherever we currently reside. Let us make this a personal and communal priority. 

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