Photo Credit: courtesy, Sivan Rahav Meir
Sivan Rahav Meir

Come to Jerusalem. That’s what I wrote at the beginning of the war and it’s true today more than ever. Jerusalem has a healing effect. I see groups of evacuees touring around the Kotel, groups of reservists who completed their service and have come with their families to give thanks, groups of students and teachers, Bar Mitzvah boys and Bat Mitzvah girls, missions of solidarity from the Diaspora. It’s not by chance that they are attracted to Jerusalem, especially now.

I was privileged to speak in Jerusalem in front of many grieving families, and this is what I said to them in the tunnels of the Kotel.


In comforting mourners, we say: “May God comfort you among all those who mourn for Zion and Jerusalem.” In other words, mention of Zion and Jerusalem is part of every mourner’s consolation. As the prophet Isaiah says: “And in Jerusalem you shall be comforted.”

These words are explained in the commentary of Metzudat David as follows: “All of your consolation shall be in Jerusalem since there you will receive much goodness and this will serve as consolation for the misfortune that has befallen you.”

I saw in the eyes of the mourners how Jerusalem consoles. One of the grieving fathers left the Kotel tunnels in tears and said: “I connected with all of our past and all of our future and to the historic task of our family within all of this.” One of the mothers said she had no words to describe what she felt next to the stones of the Kotel.

Thank you to Rabbi Mendy Kenig from the Menucha Veyeshua organization whose Shabbatot of support for grieving families have become a tradition, and also to Racheli Haddad, manager of Kotel tunnel tours.

May we all merit to go to Jerusalem in joy.


For The Hostages’ Sake

“Shalom, Sivan,

“My name is Tzofit Libman and I’m the sister-in-law of Elyakim who has been held captive in Gaza for more than five months. Our hero Elyakim was working as a security guard at the Nova festival. At 9:06 am on the morning of October 7, Elyakim phoned his father Eliyahu telling him that they were surrounded by terrorists on pickup trucks and that there were many victims of gunfire. He asked him to send help and a rescue team immediately. That was the last time we heard from him.

Since then we have learned that from 6:30 am that morning until he was kidnapped by the terrorists, Elyakim was helping people to escape, treating the injured (he served as a medic in the army), and doing everything he could to save people’s lives.

“As we approach Purim, our family is filled with mixed emotions. On the one hand, we feel so much worry, longing, and pain. But on the other hand, we are so proud of Elyakim and of the entire Jewish people who have demonstrated such nobility and courage.

“I’m attaching our note that we are circulating before the holiday. In this note, we call on people not to forget the hostages – and to rejoice for their sake.
If this sounds confusing, it’s absolutely not! We believe that not only is it a mitzvah to be happy, but that happiness has the power to transform our reality, to reach the highest levels of heaven, to break through all barriers and rescue us from our distress.

“As the founder of the Hasidic Movement, the holy Ba’al Shem Tov, used to say: “Sorrow locks the gates of Heaven. Prayer opens locked gates. Joy has the power to tear down walls.”
We invite everyone to print the attached page, post it in your neighborhoods, and include it with your Mishloach Manot.

“Happy Purim!”

Here is a translation of what is written on the page:
“Sorrow locks the gates of heaven. Prayer opens locked gates. JOY has the power to tear down walls.” (From the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov)

Even during these challenging times, we must still be happy and thankful for what we have.

Let us tear down the walls and storm the heavens with joy and love. And may we merit to see the fulfillment of the verse in the Megillah: “And the month that had been turned about for them from one of sorrow to gladness.”

For the safe and speedy return of Elyakim Shlomo ben Avishag and all the hostages.


Translations by Yehoshua Siskin and Janine Muller Sherr.

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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.