Friday, October 13, 2023

Israel in Crisis

This past week has been one of unparalleled trauma for the Jewish People. The unthinkable and unimaginable has occurred and continues to unfold. Israeli Soldiers who came to the villages after the brazen terror attacks described scenes reminiscent of the Holocaust. A significant component of the trauma is that the creation of the modern Jewish State with a powerful army was to ensure the carnage against our people from ever occurring again. The slogan of Never Again seems a bit hollow at the moment. The ideology of unadulterated Jew-hatred has been bequeathed from the Nazis to Hamas. Unfortunately, this is not a new situation. The Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Al Husseini, was a personal friend of Hitler and shared the Nazi ideology. Hamas and its cousins are the heirs of this ideology that puts a premium on and rejoices with the killing of Jews. In a larger sense, they are the heirs to a very long list of rabid Jew haters in our history. From Babylon to Rome to Berlin, they have risen to destroy our people. Despite the great pain and suffering, they have never been successful. As we recite in the Haggadah, “It was not just the Pharaoh that rose up against our people. Rather, in every generation, they rise up against us, and the Almighty saves us from their hands.” At this moment, it would be appropriate to embrace our feelings of vulnerability, and turn towards G-d, and beseech Him for heavenly mercy. The IDF soldiers are in a very precarious situation and have a long and difficult road ahead of them to restore security to its borders. Some of us who live in America feel at a loss as to what we can do to contribute for Israel. There are many ways one can be supportive of our brothers and sisters. It’s important that people of Israel do not feel alone at this time. I have been in contact with some friends and family in Israel this week, and they expressed their appreciation for the messages of love and support they get from Jews living in the diaspora. A silver lining to the crisis is the unity and solidarity that we see among our people. All political and religious differences suddenly seem so trivial. There has been an outpouring of kindness, goodness, and love from one another. Haman, an ancestor (in ideology) to Hamas, stated that the Jewish People are so divided, which is why he thought he could eliminate us. Esther instructed Mordechai to unify all Jews and come together for prayer. That strategy paid off as we defeated Haman and his cronies. It’s imperative that we continue to seek ways to unify and build bridges with one another. In that merit, may the Guardian of Israel watch over us and deliver salvation to our people. Have a Peaceful Shabbos, Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

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