Photo Credit: Courtesy
The skyline of Sderot today.

Half a year has passed since the war began. So many difficult, soul-wrenching pictures have been shared. But yesterday I was sent a picture that encouraged me and lifted my spirits.

Brigadier General (res.) Ram Shmueli, principal of the Alliance School in Haifa, took this picture on a recent visit to the city of Sderot, less than a mile from the Gaza Strip, and wrote as follows:


“This is the skyline of Sderot today. We are building and winning and being renewed. Whoever harms Israel, whoever kills and destroys, pays a heavy price in total destruction and an impoverished life. Yet it is vital not to flagellate ourselves with self-doubt or give way to dark forebodings. We must, instead, bask in the light that radiates from our success, to focus on building and creative activity. It is also critical that we appreciate the achievements of the next generation. When the horizon is studded with construction cranes of new apartment buildings, it’s a sign of renewal, hope, and a better future.”

There are many consoling captions that could be attached to this picture, but it’s enough to just look at it to be consoled and renewed.

May everyone hear good news.


Our Prayers Are Never In Vain

Major Daniel Perez fell in battle on Simchat Torah. The soldiers under his command saved dozens of people as he continued to fight in his tank for hours. Daniel was considered missing and then presumed captured. Just two weeks ago, he was declared fallen and his family began to sit shiva. His father Rabbi Doron Perez, chairman of the World Mizrachi organization, sent the following message to communities worldwide:

Rabbi Doron Perez and Major Daniel Perez.

“After 163 heart-wrenching days of angst, anxiety, prayers and mitzvot in Daniel’s merit, last week he was declared fallen on Simchat Torah. So many people prayed for him over the past 5 months – were those prayers in vain? Especially since before we began davening for him, he had already been killed.

“Nothing could be further from the truth for two reasons. Although it isn’t the result that we wanted, it gives solace to know that he didn’t suffer. It is ‘only’ our loss, a painful loss, but we don’t need to worry about him. That is a relief, and it is because of your prayers that we were brought this finality.

“Additionally, we always davened for Daniel amongst all the hostages. There are so many other hostages – including Matan Shachar ben Anat from Daniel’s tank – and therefore they were never only for Daniel. Not only were the prayers not in vain, but actually brought about a result that had already been determined but that we could experience through the prayers and bring to an end our suffering of anxiety for Daniel and to be able to move to the next painful stage of mourning.

“Moreover, prayer is something which changes us first and foremost. The word for prayer, ‘lehitpalel,’ is reflexive. It is not only about impacting the world, but first impacts us. Once we change ourselves, we can change the world. And that is what has happened – the barriers between people have come down, Am Yisrael has become one, the acts of kindness, challah bakes, mitzvot, prayers, etc. – we have changed and become closer to G-d and each other and that lasts forever.

“As we read in this week’s parasha about the korbanot, sacrifices, we remember the words of our Sages that prayers are in place of sacrifices – may we continue to pray and to feel as one, and in that merit may only good things happen for the Jewish people.”


Translation by Yehoshua Siskin


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Sivan Rahav-Meir is a popular Channel 12 News anchor, the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the author of “#Parasha.” Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Translation by Yehoshua Siskin.