The news has been difficult.
On one hand, we see amazing miracles. Thousands of rockets targeted Israeli civilian populations but caused very little harm. The IDF achieved incredible military success in Gaza, destroying in two weeks, dozens of tunnels that it took our enemy years to build. The nation has forged together in incredible unity and America reiterated her support of Israel by pledging additional millions to the lifesaving Iron Dome.
On the other hand, as of this writing, sixty-four soldiers and three civilians are dead. The Israeli economy took a serious hit as tourism and business slowed. Estimations put the cost at 12 billion shekels, or 1.2 percent of total economic output. Post-traumatic stress disorders have affected hundreds of people in Southern Israel, especially children. The Western media has predictably turned against Israeli attempts at self-defense once again, running gruesome pictures of dead bodies and demanding Israeli explanations. Massive demonstrations, some violent and blatantly anti-Semitic, have been held in major cities around the world.
We, who do not live in Israel, feel attacked. How can the world not understand Israel’s right to self-defense? How can they excuse Hamas’ tactics of indoctrinating children to sacrifice their lives for a flimsy cause and blame it on Israel? Why do they focus exclusively on Israeli perceived wrongdoings while ignoring atrocities around the world in Nigeria, Syria, North Korea, Ukraine… the list goes on.
The world must have gone mad.
But we, the Jewish people, are meant to be a light upon the nations, the example of Godly conscience in the world. According to Rav Noach Weinberg, this is the reason for irrational anti-Semitism in the world. The world sees the hand of God through us, and does not like it.
This past Shabbos, I heard an uplifing shiur from Rebbetzin Mindy Lankry. She recounted how a month ago, when we first heard thatNaftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar, were kidnapped, there wasn’t a mother who did not lie in bed at night crying for the mothers of the three beautiful boys. The whole nation came together to pray and do good deeds for their sakes. Then, as their bodies were found, rockets rained down on Israel, and we went to war. First, it was just air strikes to stop the rockets, and then the IDF sent in ground forces, all to destroy a massive network of tunnels created to kill as many Jews as possible.
There are tremendous efforts being made to alleviate and ease the stress of the soldiers and their families. Let us all do our part in bringing peace and tranquility to Israel.
1. The Shmira Project: Sign up at www.shmiraproject.com, text 240-393-4836 or call 03-720-8260 to be paired with the name of a soldier in combat. While he defends the borders of Israel physically, you can protect him spiritually by praying, learning, and doing acts of goodness and kindness.
This project is a personal favorite, and one that I feel could be the solution of the now muted religious/secular divide in Israel. Even with the war now over, the act of praying for a specific soldier doesn’t have to end. If at eighteen, every soldier was paired up with an eighteen-year-old yeshiva bochur and he learned/prayed in his partner’s merit and safety, then in the place of animosity and accusations, there could be increased feelings of ahavat yisrael and increased Godly protection on Israel.
2. Create or join a group amongst your friends to divide Tehillim monthly, weekly or even daily. David HaMelech spent his entire life defending the borders of Israel, and he knew what he was talking about when he beseeched God to save Israel from her enemies.