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We are now entrenched in The Nine Days, and human nature being what it is, most of us can’t wait for these days of deprivation – no meat or poultry (except for Shabbat); no swimming; no showering (except for Shabbat) and no music, culminating in a 25 hour fast of no food or water – to finally be behind us. Though we are aware of the spiritual necessity to commemorate and immerse ourselves in remembrance of the greatest tragedy to befall our nation, our thoughts somehow wander off the somber path they are supposed to be on, easily distracted by sun-drenched summer days and their offerings of refreshing pool-dipping, the beckoning smell of barbequed meat and upcoming weddings and simchas celebrated with good friends and loving family.

As Tisha B’Av comes closer, we do our best to focus and reflect on the destruction of our Holy Temples and the resultant centuries of exile – an exile that left the Jewish people scattered and very vulnerable to the unpredictable and inconsistent whims of kings, tyrants and religious regimes.


But for many, contemplating our exile from our homeland is more of an intellectual endeavor than an emotional one.  We acknowledge the horrific events of long ago, but I sense that we are basically paying a short-term “shiva” call: we are upset, even tearful, but just for a relatively brief moment. The loss of the Bais HaMikdash doesn’t really affect our day-to-day lives – that is true for those of us in North America. For the most part we come and go as we please, without fear, hesitation or restriction and life is physically pleasant and calm.

Though there are “in-your-face” incidents that bring to the fore how potentially dangerous our situation is in our host countries, we tend to let our uneasiness and concern melt off like an ice-cube in soda. It disappears rather quickly.

Once the fast day is over, the tragic realities that the Nine Days represent are relegated to a distant storage bin in our warehouse of memories, to be dusted off in 12 months’ time. That is the way human beings operate. Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly. People go to hospitals, funerals, shiva houses, and they genuinely feel awful about the specific situation, but the adage “out of sight, out of mind” holds true. We go on with our lives as soon as we walk out the door.

I wonder if this year our mindset will be different. Today, Israel lacks peace and harmony from within, as religious and secular factions bicker and fight over economic and cultural issues, and externally, as fanatical Muslim factions are obsessed with one unifying objective: shedding Jewish blood.

As I write this, hundreds of missiles have been launched from Gaza, and Israeli troops are engaged in a ground invasion to destroy the enemy’s capability to continue doing so. Of course, some things are as predictable as summer heat: the self-righteous indignation from international governments who condemn, censor and criticize Israel for employing self-defense measures. Israel is “damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.” Damned (by the world) if they defend themselves, and damned (doomed) if they don’t.

It would appear that this time the Israeli government is not going to let its citizens be murdered in a futile attempt to get an elusive pat on the back from a biased international media.

Israel is fed up with “Tisha B’Av” happening all too often to Israeli families who are left to mourn and grieve over the unexpected violent death of a loved one. All too often, a smiling, “eyes-brimming-with-life” individual, looks out at us from photos in a newspaper or an online news item. Accompanying the photo is an age and connection – a son, daughter, fiancée, spouse, father, mother or grandparent – and a description of how he/she came to a premature, unwarranted death.



  1. THANK HASHEM FOR YET ANOTHER MIRACLE !!!! Three weeks ago a group of residents came from Bnei Brak to Kibbutz Sufa in order to harvest wheat for Pesach. They harvest the wheat every summer when the sun beats down on the fields, thoroughly drying the wheat. The wheat is then stored until the winter when they start the production and baking of matzos.

    Aharon Samet, owner of the “Samet” factory producing “tzitzis” fringes, is the Badatz community supervisor for the wheat harvest. On a radio program today with Rabbi Moshe Ben Lulu, Samet told the story of the great miracle which occurred for the people of Israel thanks to this year’s wheat harvest.

    “This year we are getting ready for the Shmitta agricultural sabbatical year, so this summer we harvested wheat grain for two years. We searched the whole country, looking for wheat which was sown late in the season and needed rain which fell late. At Kibbutz Sufa right next to the Gaza border we found an entire field sown in mid-January, which was considered very unusual, so we found 2000 acres of green wheat which was just right for us, “said Samet.

    “We harvested the wheat,” said Samet, “and we ran into military police, as well as undercover and regular police who came to check out who we were.” The Gaza air campaign was already underway, and Samet and his colleagues saw the smoke clouds over Gaza, and heard the sirens while they were busy harvesting and transferring the wheat to trucks and moving them towards the cleaning plant near Masmiya for cleaning the wheat, fumigating and tithing it.

    Two days later 13 terrorists came from Gaza out from the tunnel which opened into the fields near Sufa. The terrorists had been planning a big attack, and had been counting on hiding among Sufa’s giant wheat field–which the matzah makers had just chopped down in its entirety. The terrorists couldn’t understand how their camouflage had disappeared.

    The empty field enabled military observers to easily spot and identify the terrorists and open fire on them. Many Jewish lives were thus saved by the grace of Heaven.

  2. Israel has my heart. Keep up the good work (all branches of Israel Defense Forces). You have The Lord God Almighty on your side. You are guaranteed to win. I am praying unceasingly for each of you in IDF and Israel. I am praying for the families of the fallen heroes. May their memories be a blessing. I am also praying for the sick and injured people of the Israel Defense Forces. I support Israel’s right to defend herself. … Thank you, US Congress, for caring about Israel and giving them a last minute infusion of $225 million for the Iron-Drone anti-missile system on 8-1-14. I also support Prime Minister Netanyahu. Most importantly I am praying for Peace in Jerusalem!

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