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Standing with our Brothers

Friday, 18 July, 2014 - 7:13 pm

Soldier Shema.jpgYesterday while on a trip with Camp Gan Israel of Sudbury and while surrounded by the dizzying rides and noise of Canobie Lake Adventure Park, I received the news that Israel was launching a ground invasion into Gaza. I froze on the spot and my mind and emotions slipped away from the roller coasters and blasting music and were transported thousands of miles away to my brethren in the Holy Land and to the thousands of young soldiers who were entering a sea of terror to wage a defensive battle to protect the Jewish people.  I began to receive calls from friends here and in Israel whose children had been drafted and I stopped myself in the midst of the rides and roller coasters to say a prayer on behalf of my brothers.

There is no doubt that this is a tough battle and a very difficult challenge to navigate properly. Yet at times like this, it is important that we be clear with ourselves and clear with the world around us, that this war is a defensive war that Israel had no wish to fight and it has been forced and dragged into it against its will. While some in the media would like us to believe in a moral equation between the terrorists in Gaza and the IDF, reality itself speaks of a whole different story.

Israel is being attacked by Hamas whose charter calls for its total destruction and these are people who don’t have the slightest qualm about targeting civilians or using their own civilians as fodder for PR.  This is a battle between right and wrong and between evil and good and this is a struggle between people who love and live for life, and people who live to fight and cause terror.

Hamas has deliberately targeted hundreds of Israel towns and cities with the aim of killing and maiming as many civilians as possible. At the same time, Israel fights a war of cat and mouse with the terrorists who continuously fire missiles from within schools, hospitals and community centers of their own people whom Israel is desperately trying to harming.  Just yesterday, the UN found 20 missiles hidden in one of its schools in Gaza, and today Hamas were firing from Hospitals at the Israeli troops.

It is a tough battle, and it is being fought in Gaza, on the World Stage, in the media, and in the world of public opinion. At times like this, we must stand up for our brothers and sisters and do our utmost to pray for them, advocate for them and stand up for good over evil, even if it is a little uncomfortable.

In this week’s Torah portion, there is a story of two of the Jewish tribes, Reuben & Gad, who requested of Moses to settle in the calm plains of Transjordan instead of crossing over into Israel and fighting on behalf of their people. Moses doesn’t deny them the right to enjoy a life of tranquility and peace, but he does rebuke them for not being willing to go with their brothers into battle. Moses tells them “Shall your brothers go out to battle, while you settle here? Why do you deter the heart of the Jewish people from crossing into the Land that G-d has given you”.

The tribes get the message and they volunteer to go and help their brethren in arms to capture the land of Israel. Yet even more so, they volunteer to stand at the forefront of the struggle of the Jewish people and be there for them during their time of need. It is agreed that following this task, they will go back and settle with their families in their lands in Transjordan.

As I think about the message of the portion, it almost seems to say to me, six million of your brethren are under attack and we cannot just remain quiet. It does not necessarily mean that we need to go and physically fight, but it does mean, that we should stop for a minute and think about what they are going through and figure out how we can stand together with them. It does mean that we can stop and say a prayer to G-d almighty each day for their success, it does mean that we can stop and do an extra Mitzvah on their behalf, and  it does mean that we can stop and see how we can make our voices be heard in support of our brethren that will help give them the vital moral support that they need.

As we prepare to welcome in the Shabbos, I am praying for the safety of brethren, and praying that Israel will succeed in their mission against terror and they will bring back peace and tranquility to Israel and in turn to the many innocent Palestinians who are also victims of Hamas’s terror. I hope that in the merit of all of our prayers, good deeds, and speaking up, the good will win over evil and the world will use its moral compass in a correct manner.

Shabbat Shalom to the World and with prayers and hopes for the day that “no nation will lift up a sword against another”.

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