Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The kibbutz dining room is filled with tens of people. All are survivors of the recent barbaric attack by the Hamas terrorists. They are all waiting to pay tribute to a soldier whom they had never met before this terrible and heinous attack, but one whom they will never forget and to whom they will be forever in debt for his bravery and heroism.

Suddenly the soldier enters the room. The people greeting him are noticeably not his type. They are part of a group of people who before this massacre identified with the left of Israel. They despised the religious Jews and wished never to be a part of them.


But now all that has changed. In walks a young soldier with a beard and peyot, his tzizit dangling from the sides of his pants, and the crowd gives out a roar of thanksgiving and appreciation. It is a scene that up to this point could never have been imagined – the kibbutz members hugging and crying and thanking this religious soldier for saving their lives. The soldier had never considered what the views of these people were. A Jew is a Jew! They are my brothers and sisters, and I will, if necessary, give up my life to protect and save them.

Just three weeks ago, the Israeli population was so divided on the judicial reform introduced in the Knesset that people were predicting that a civil war would soon break out. The left were demonstrating every week and tensions were very high. Secular extreme leftist Jews disrupted prayers on Yom Kippur just to display their disgust for the religious. There was havoc in our country. There was division and hate.

What people don’t know is that the land of Israel cannot tolerate sinat chinam, blind hatred, amongst its people. Almighty G-d will spit out the inhabitants of this land if there is strife and enmity. Eretz Yisrael, the land itself, cannot tolerate machloket.

Three weeks later, we find ourselves in the middle of a war for the survival of our land and people. Rarely in the history of our people have we seen such unity and caring for one another. No division here! It doesn’t matter what your level of observance is. We are all one now. Religious or not, we embrace each other. We support each other. A soldier, whether religious or not, is cherished. Never has there been such an outpouring of love and concern. We are one nation!

Bottom line: “A Jew is a Jew!”

There are no more demonstrations. There are no more words of hate. There is only love.

A story is jokingly told of a mother who advised her young daughter who was serving in the Israeli army to look around for a nice religious young man. She replied to her mother, “It’s hard to differentiate between the religious and the irreligious now because all the soldiers are wearing tzizit and kippot.”

We are a very complicated nation. We have been persecuted for so many years. We carry with us a great deal of baggage. But we are unique and special – there is no other people like Israel.

Sometimes I feel that Almighty G-d creates these situations to focus all our people on what is really important – our unity, our love for each other, our unconditional commitment to fight for and defend our brothers and sisters, and indeed, even to give up our lives to protect our people. Today in Israel one witnesses thousands of charedim enlisting in the army. Religious Jews with shtriemels and kapatas dancing with soldiers, some who have tattoos all over their bodies, and proclaiming that we are all one family.

This unity and love is the strength of our people. This is what makes us so unique! This love will guarantee our success in winning this war and blotting out and totally obliterating our barbaric enemy.

Mi k’amcha Yisrael, goy echad ba’Aretz.


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Rabbi Mordechai Weiss has been involved in Jewish education for the past forty-six years, serving as principal of various Hebrew day schools. He has received awards for his innovative programs and was chosen to receive the coveted Outstanding Principal award from the National Association of Private Schools. He now resides in Israel and is available for speaking engagements. Contact him at [email protected] or 914-368-5149.