Reader Rose Weingarten (Letters, Nov. 17) writes, “No president has been more pro-Israel than Jimmy Carter.”
One question to Ms. Weingarten: What color is the sky in your world?
East Brunswick, NJ
Prayers For Israeli Soldiers (I)
Kudos to Bezalel Fixler for his magnificent Nov. 17 front-page essay “Prayers for the Czar – But Not for Israeli Soldiers?”
It breaks my heart that so many Jews who claim to believe in Hashem and His Torah fail to grasp how important Israel is to the Jewish people and how great our debt is to every Israeli soldier – no matter his level of religious observance, no matter his skin color, no matter where his parents and grandparents came from.
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, a”h, was someone who keenly appreciated what Israeli soldiers do for all of us. I once heard her speak shortly after a terrorist attack on a group of Israeli soldiers had left several of them severely wounded. She began her speech by telling the audience to be sure to daven and say Tehillim for the precious Jewish soldiers who protect our holy land. She was so distraught, I thought she would be unable to continue speaking.
In one of her columns that I saved, the Rebbetzin wrote of the wonders of the modern state of Israel – of beaten and downtrodden concentration camp survivors making the land bloom, of Jewish soldiers defending the Jewish homeland:
The miracle of Eretz Yisrael should touch even the most hardened among us. The living skeletons of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau, and Belgen Belsen arrived in our Holy Land only to find their lives once again in jeopardy. With one hand they held a gun and with the other they irrigated the lifeless soil. They planted forests and orchards. They turned a desolate land that was dormant for almost 2,000 years into a magnificent garden – and this despite the fact that they had no knowledge of or experience with farming.
We who were oppressed, enslaved, tortured, and beaten, and who for almost two millennia were not permitted to hold a weapon in our hands, were called on to fight. And, miracle of miracles, we became David and our slingshot defeated the Goliaths….
Prayers For Israeli Soldiers (II)
Bezalel Fixler expressed so eloquently the mindset that a frum Jew should have regarding the state of Israel. We recognize the miracle of Israel’s rebirth, although our joy is coupled with the knowledge that so many young Jews have paid the ultimate price in ensuring Israel’s survival.
Of course the tragedy is that too many Orthodox Jews still refuse to see what a miracle Israel is and scorn the wondrous gift God gave us after 2,000 years of homeless wandering and on the heels of the greatest devastation in Jewish history.
How can a religious person not discern the Hand of Hashem in the creation and survival of Israel? Ancient prophecies have been fulfilled in our lifetime. As a friend of mine once wrote on the occasion of Yom Ha’Atzmaut:
“A weak and powerless people comes home after two millennia, resurrects Hebrew as a working language, astonishes the world with feats of military valor not seen since the days of the Maccabees, creates a society that quickly takes its place among the world’s leaders in scientific, medical, and technological innovation, and allows for Torah to flourish on a level unparalleled since the destruction of the Second Temple, with yeshivas thriving and students learning in numbers greater than was ever the case at any time or in any country in Europe.”
All this while a portion of our frum community continues to denigrate the state of Israel and refuses to recognize its transcendent meaning.
Prayers For Israeli Soldiers (III)
Not only do I completely agree with Bezalel Fixler, I am perhaps even more puzzled than he is as to why certain shuls refuse to say a Misheberach for Israeli soldiers.
Since the problem exists in frum shuls, let’s focus for a moment on frum soldiers. There are many thousands of frum soldiers in the IDF. Wouldn’t we make a Misheberach in our shuls for someone who, chas v’shalom, is in grave danger? Of course we would. But that is the situation in which so many frum Israeli soldiers find themselves on almost any given day. What happened to the concept of “Kol Yisrael areivim zeh l’zeh” (“All Israel is responsible for one another”)?
As for the non-frum soldiers, are they not Yidden?
Someone once came over to Stuchiner Rebbe, ztvk”l, to convey the news of a bus accident in Eretz Yisrael in which many passengers had been killed. The man added that it wasn’t so bad because since it was Shabbos, no frum Yidden were on the bus.
The Rebbe strongly rebuked him, saying through his tears, “ Ah Yid haut ah Yiddishe neshamah.” A Jew is a Jew no matter what.
In his article Mr. Fixler relates a Gemara about how we must feel the pain of even a wicked mother of a wicked son who anxiously awaits that son’s return from the battlefield.
Last week in Parshas Toldos we saw how a mother feels about a son even if he is a rasha. The Midrash asks why Sarah asked Avraham to send away Yishmael so that he wouldn’t be a bad influence on Yitzchak – but Rivkah did not ask Yitzchak to send away Eisav to prevent him from being a bad influence on Yaakov.
The answer: Yishmael was not Sarah’s son but Eisav was Rivkah’s son – and a mother worries about her son no matter what type of person he is.
At least we know Hashem is watching over His children. But it would mean so much to Him if we were to daven to Him asking for His protection over our soldiers.
As we await the Geulah Sheleimah B’Karov, let us all say the Misheberach for the guardians of Eretz Yisrael.
Kew Gardens, NY
Prayers For Israeli Soldiers (IV)
Bezalel Fixler points out that “there are very fine frum shuls that refuse – stubbornly, adamantly, passionately – to make a Misheberach for the brave and bold soldiers of Israel.”
We also know that many Orthodox Jews in Israel demand the right not to have to serve in the military. I have a question for those Orthodox Jews.
Suppose all the Jews in Israel became like the Orthodox Jews who refuse to serve in the IDF. The country would then have no army. Do the anti-IDF Orthodox Jews believe Hashem will save them when the Palestinians attack?
Glen Head, NY