Photo Credit: courtesy, Sivan Rahav Meir
Sivan Rahav Meir

Amidst all the pain and sorrow of the past two weeks, here are some helpful words from Hila Gonen, director of a trauma recovery center in Sderot:

“What does it mean when magicians say ‘abracadabra’? It’s actually a combination of two words of Hebrew origin: ‘abra’ (I will create) and ‘cadabara’ (as I speak). Words create reality. The world itself, in the Torah portion of Bereishit, is created with words.


“When you make a statement such as ‘I have no more strength, I’m finished, I’m falling apart,’ you create that reality and end up really feeling that way. But a statement such as ‘It’s hard for me now and I am hurting, but I can still keep on going’ will create a more favorable reality.

“It is therefore always a good idea to put a time limit on our negative emotions. Instead of just saying, ‘It’s very hard for me,’ say ‘It’s very hard for me right now.’ Instead of just ‘I have not recovered,’ add ‘yet.’ Instead of ‘I’m sad,’ say, ‘In the meantime, I’m sad.’ We need to remind ourselves that the current situation is temporary and is bound to change for the better.”

So, in the meantime, it is hard for us. Thank you, Hila, and may we all hear lots of good news.

Turning Numbers Into Names

A friend who does not live in Israel explained why, in her opinion, many world leaders are giving full support to us this time around. The governments in Washington, Paris, Rome, and London finally understand that if Sderot was attacked, their cities could be attacked, too.

“Indeed, in the Torah portion of Bereishit,” my friend wrote, we read: ‘And G-d said let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness . . . So G-d created man in His image, in the image of G-d He created him.’

“And in the Torah portion of Noach we read last Shabbat, it says: ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of G-d He made man.’

This is not complicated, but rather simple. There are those who kidnap, torture, and murder, and there are those who would never commit such acts. There are those whose vile deeds desecrate the image of G-d and those whose lives are a testimony to G-d’s presence in this world. It’s a matter of light versus darkness and good against evil.

And then I received the following message that encapsulates the enemy’s ambition versus our own.

“I am a psychologist who accompanies Zaka – a search and rescue organization whose mission includes honoring victims of catastrophic death by collecting their remains and ensuring they have a proper burial. I recently sat with a young man who, for the last two weeks, has been busy identifying our dead. He has witnessed unspeakable horrors and has been working around the clock, 24/7. Once in a while, lying on the ground in his sleeping bag, he dozes off for a few hours. I asked him: What keeps you going?

“And with tears in his eyes, he answered: ‘Hamas wanted to turn names into numbers; I am trying to turn numbers into names.’”


Shabbat with the youth of Sderot

We were privileged to spend last Shabbat with residents of Sderot who are staying at the VERT hotel in Jerusalem.

I was most inspired to see the detailed schedule that the Sderot youth had prepared for Shabbat. I could only imagine what their Shabbat was like two weeks ago, what they have gone through since then, and how important it is for them to raise their spirits at this time.

The opportunity given to my husband Yedidiya and myself to speak before this group was a treasured experience, but the highlight of Shabbat was the reading of the final verses of the Torah by Rabbi Amram Abergil, the Chatan Torah, followed by the traditional children’s aliya to the Torah. Those assembled threw candy at the kids – a treat that was delayed by two weeks – with tears of pent-up emotions rolling down their cheeks.

I saw with my own eyes how the youth of Sderot embody resilience, community spirit, and the determination to rebuild. We met precious souls who have no plans yet of when they will be able to return home, in the midst of such uncertainty, had the wherewithal to take the time to plan a most meaningful and memorable Shabbat for all concerned.

Shavua tov and may we all hear good news.

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.