Photo Credit: courtesy, Sivan Rahav Meir
Sivan Rahav Meir

This week was is Yom HaZikaron in Israel. If you haven’t been to Israel lately, you’d be surprised to find the walls of this country covered with stickers of the faces of the fallen.

You see them everywhere: at train and bus stations, on bumper stickers, store entrances, and in almost every empty public space. Stickers of young, smiling faces along with a short phrase intended to capture their unique essence and irreplaceable personality.


We are approaching very emotional and difficult days. So, I’ve decided that on Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut, I will let the stickers speak for themselves. More than 1,500 precious souls have gone to heaven since Simchat Torah; if each one of them could send us a message, what would it be?

In a Tel Aviv train station, I stood looking at the stickers on the walls. A common theme emerging from these stickers? The importance of remembering to smile.

“Don’t forget to smile,” Staff Sgt. Yakir Levi

“Don’t let the world change your smile; let your smile change the world.” Staff Sgt. Dor Lazimi

“Don’t forget to smile when you wake up in the morning.” Lt. Dekel Suissa

“Where’s your smile?” Staff Sgt. Yakir Hexter

“Life is so much easier when you just smile.” Staff Sgt. Roey Weiser

And here are some more voices. this time from stickers at the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem:

“Say little and do much.” Staff Sgt. Achiya Deskel

“We are constantly making progress.” Yehonatan Ben Keren

“May we go to sleep every night feeling that we have done our best.” Lt. Ariel Reich

“Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never give up.” Sgt. Hillel Solomon

These days, on the Shabbatot between Pesach and Shavuot, we immerse ourselves in the study of Pirkei Avot, which is filled with memorable teachings on ethics and proper behavior. Wise aphorisms are attributed to various sages, each one introduced with the words: “He used to say…”

And today, the walls of our country are also crying out: “He used to say…” “She used to say….”

If only we could live up to the inspiring words on our walls.


When Prophecies Come True

An attendant at the Kotel (Western Wall) tunnels approached me when I last visited there and gifted me a book that he authored. “My name is Yisrael Rosenberg”, he introduced himself. “I worked in high tech in the United States for many years, I made Aliyah, and today at my age I am proud to be an attendant at the Kotel”.

The book is titled “Only Good Tidings – Consoling Prophecies from the Bible.” This special Jew went through the entire Bible and combined all the optimistic passages into a single inspiring volume.

I started reading. There are passages that describe our return to the land of Israel: “The Lord your G-d will bring you back and be merciful toward you; and He will return and gather you from all the peoples where the Lord, your G-d, scattered you.”

There are glorious descriptions such as this of rebuilding, planting, and settling the land: “I will restore My people Israel. They shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine; they shall till gardens and eat their fruits.”

And, of course, verses like this that speak of universal peace and how we will be the spiritual center of the world: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more”, “Torah will go forth from Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

Even when our hearts are broken over the hostages, the Nova victims and fallen soldiers and the evacuees, we must always remember that the story of the nation of Israel is greater than every crisis, challenge, and political upheaval.

When we finish reading the words of the prophets in the Haftarah on Shabbat, our blessing includes the following assurance: “And not one of Your words is ever retracted unfulfilled.” Every positive prediction will come true, every word and every promise. Our forebears in Yemen and in Poland believed this a thousand years ago in a dark and bitter exile, while we have been privileged to enjoy days of rebuilding and rejoicing in our land.

If a rabbi had put together a book like this, it would have been uplifting. But when a nice Jew from the United States makes Aliyah and collects all these promising Bible passages while attending to the ancient wall of the Holy Temple, it is a sign that these prophecies are coming true before our very eyes and may soon be entirely fulfilled in our own days.


Translation by Janine Muller Sherr and 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.