Photo Credit: Flash90

Yesterday was Simchat Torah, a holiday of love, joy, and gratitude. On Simchat Torah, we dance seven times around the Torah.

Seven symbolizes a cycle, a completion – both an end and a beginning. Time and growth are cyclical, according to Jewish tradition.


Every seven days – on Shabbat – we read a portion of the Torah (The Old Testament) and on Simchat Torah we read the last parsha (portion).

Completions deserve a day of joy. So we dance, sing, and eat.

And then we grant it another day, Isru Chag (The Binding of the holiday). We let the happiness linger: we savor joy, we let the glow of gratitude and love settle in. In times of trouble, you need a reserve of positive energy.

But now we are in a time of trouble – deep trouble. We’re one day into the war and I know of three dead soldiers, their three widows, and their eight children. I’m not alone. Today, on Isru Chag – the day of lingering joy – every Israeli mourns a loved one, murdered or kidnapped.

Yet, this is only the beginning. Every man under forty has been called up, including my son, his friends, and the sons of my friends. Every former soldier over forty is volunteering. Today, this fractured country feels whole. Right, left, religious, secular, Ashkenazi or Sephardi, pro judicial reform or anti – Hamas makes no distinction. Right now – “thanks to Hamas” – neither do we.

We’re at war. Against the bad guys.

On the morning of Simchat Torah, we heard booms from Patriot Missiles shooting scuds fired from Gaza. Because I don’t use devices on Shabbat and holidays, I asked Diana, my wife’s Filipino caretaker, what was going on. Diana has the most pleasant and positive demeanor. She’s soft spoken and kind, quiet and observant. She reminds me of Radar from the TV series Mash. For those of you old enough to remember, he would anticipate the colonel’s needs before the colonel expressed them.

“Doc,” she said without her usual constant smile, “My best friend from childhood has been kidnapped and taken to Gaza along with her Alzheimer’s patient, an eighty-one-year-old woman. They dragged them into the trunk of a car.”

It’s personal. My wife has Alzheimer’s. My brain creates images of her being kidnapped and thrown into a cell in Gaza. Stuck in a locked room without her medicine, her family, her security, her TV, her multiple walks per day, her diapers, she would descend into a dark and terrifying place. Without a kiss from me every day, without a smile and hug from her grandchildren, without routine and care, I can’t imagine what form of hell would invade her empty mind.

I don’t get it. What cruel version of humanity kidnaps a Filipino caretaker and her Alzheimer’s patient?

For what purpose?

Yet, the cruelty goes way beyond an Alzheimer’s patient and her caretaker.

On Simchat Torah, they bound children the age of my grandchildren, separated them from their mothers, blindfolded them, then dragged them into the trunks of cars, and paraded them like spoils of war.

What cruel version of humanity randomly murders innocent party goers at an outdoor festival celebrating Simchat Torah?

But it gets worse. They grabbed dead bodies, tossed them into the back of a truck, and carried them to Gaza.

Hamas uses Jewish corpses as bargaining chips.

An act of liberation?

A justifiable statement against the Occupation?

An occupation which Israel voluntarily relinquished in 2005 in the naïve belief that the Palestinians, with the help of European and American money, would turn their beach front property into an international resort.

Hamas runs the show in Gaza. Terrorist organizations don’t build resort properties or greenhouses or businesses. No. Hamas creates nothing other than chaos, poverty, and death.

And we have to defeat them.


The cost will be high. But I don’t see any other alternative for us, the Jewish people, living in our national homeland.

The cycle continues.

Sadly, now is the time for war.


Previous articleIAF Attacks Home of Shabbat Massacre Mastermind Mohammed Deif Killing Several Family Members
Next articleWar Day #2 – The Tamar Yonah Show [audio]
Dr. Michael Tobin is a practicing psychologist for nearly 50 years, a resident of Gush Etzion (Efrat and now Tekoa) since 1986, and author of the book “Riding the Edge, A Love Song to Deborah.”