The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Emunah means faith, faith that everything is from Hashem, that there is no power other than Hashem, and that Hashem can do everything and anything. And so, when Jews are in trouble, especially with a problem or sorrow that is clearly beyond our ability to change, we turn to Hashem to help us, to save us, to do whatever it is that we long for.
And so, when three teenaged boys, H”yd, were kidnapped and their fate was unknown, Jews of all types, in Israel and throughout the world, joined together in great achdus, unity, as we each tried to do whatever we could to help save the boys. For most of us, of course, the efforts were spiritual. We davened, enhanced Shabbos by bringing it in earlier, and even people who had never kept Shabbos lit candles and observed the holy day for the first time. We made good resolutions, increased our observance and/or Torah learning – we did anything we could think of – to give merits to the boys, not knowing, of course, that they were no longer alive.
One of the efforts made for them was the saying of hundreds of books of Tehillim daily. This major undertaking was initiated by Rebbetzin Yocheved Grossman who lives in the ultra-religious neighborhood of Meah Shearim, in Yerushalayim. Rebbetzin Grossman is the founder of Mercaz Maydah Yahadut, the Center for Jewish Information, which does chessed in many ways for Jews throughout the country. This time she organized the saying of Psalms for the sake of the boys.
With the help of many volunteers manning telephones in the office in her home, Rebbetzin Grossman coordinated thousands of people so that whole books of Tehillim would be said for the sake of the boys’ safe return. Her phone number was announced on the radio and elsewhere, and thousands of Jews throughout Eretz Yisrael called to commit to saying the Tehillim of one particular day (Sunday, Monday, etc.) every day so that the boys would be found. It added up to hundreds of sifrei Tehillim daily.
Now, just weeks after the burial of those three pure boys, am Yisrael in Eretz Yisroel is in the midst of a frightening war, being attacked day and night in almost every area of the country. Once again there is tremendous achdus, unity, as Jews of all sectors of am Yisrael, in Eretz Yisrael and abroad, are doing everything we can to merit rachamim, compassion and Divine protection for all Jews, and in particular – our soldiers. And once again Rebbetzin Grossman is doing her best – this time for the soldiers.
What she is doing now was initiated some five years ago during Operation Cast Lead. At that time, the Chief Rabbi of Rehovot, Rav Simcha HaKohein Kook, and ybl”c, the Bostener Rebbe, zt”l, issued a joint letter asking all am Yisrael to pray for our soldiers. Their request led to the creation of Mateh La’Elef, an organization run by Rebbetzin Grossman which matches people on the home front, primarily yeshiva boys and avreichim, full-time learners, with soldiers, the former learning and davening for individual soldiers.
Some 50,000 soldiers and reservists have been called up, so coordinating names of soldiers with people who will pray and learn Torah for theirwellbeingis a major task. In her home office many girls and women voluntarily man phones for up to 18 hours a day, taking names of soldiers, and giving them to those who call requesting for one specific soldier to learn Torah and daven for. Thousands of such matches have been made to date and continue to be made constantly. “We get two to three calls a minute!” says Rebbetzin Grossman. “In the past three days we received 15,000 calls!”
About the Author: Naomi Brudner, M.A., lives in Yerushalayim where she writes, counsels and practices Guided Imagery for health, including for stroke patients.
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