Thursday, January 01, 2009

Challenge of... War, I Guess

So, I'm sure you've heard. We're at war. What's that MEAN?

To people in the south, and now people in the center (as we prepare for the longer-range missiles Hamas seems to have), it means something very different than it does to us in the "safe" zone. I'm trying to figure out what it means to us.

Rabbi Brody says that this is a war of Emuna. He says that if we work on our Emuna and come close to Hashem, we will triumph, and that's the ONLY way. One point he made, that I really liked, was this: Hamas does not discriminate between Jews. We are all targets, if we are religious or not, sefaradi, ashkenazi, hassidic, litvishe or athiest. If we would be united, Hamas would not be able to hurt us.

People in Sederot are in a strange position. Life for them has not changed. It's the same now as it was before Chanukah. In fact, maybe there are fewer missiles falling. It's business as usual for them too.

My friend Jameel told me (and I hope it's OK that I'm writing this without his permission) that on the one hand he feels he is needed but on the other hand he'd have to use vacation time from his job. He simply does not have enough vacation time and also he might get called up. If he's called up, he'll also miss work. Not a good thing in this economic climate. So while it's not exactly business as usual for Jameel and his team at the Muqata, it has a business as usual feel to it.

My gut tells me to go with Rabbi Brody. He's sitting in Ashdod, learning and teaching Torah, and he's not afraid. His emuna is strong. Hashem will triumph in the end no matter what WE do. We have to trust that Hashem has our best interests in "mind" and go with that. Here's what I wrote to my mishmeret shmirat halashon (group of women who dedicate time each day to keeping their speech clean for someone else's merit):

Times are challenging. We might even say that times are tough. Rebbi Nachman tells a parable (which I’ll tell in short). Two people, a Jew and a non-Jew are travelling beggars. It’s seder night, and the Jew suggests to the non-Jew that he pretend to be Jewish to get a meal. He coaches him on Kiddush, hand-washing and other customs, but forgets to tell him about the Maror. After the wine and the matza, when the non-Jew is given the bitter herb, he thinks that’s the whole meal, gets insulted and leaves. Later he meets up with the Jew and tells him how terrible the whole thing was. The Jew tells him, “Stupid! If you had waited a little longer you could have had a fine meal, as I did.”

Rebbe Nachman is telling us, when we try to come closer to Hashem, we often have some bitterness. This is to purify us (improve us - YSRM). Someone might think that bitterness is all there is to serving G-d and run away. But if we would only wait, and let the bitterness purify us, we would feel the joy and delight of coming closer to G-d.

May the bitterness, the challenges we face on a personal and national level, serve to purify us so that we can soon experience and enjoy the full redemption.

This war is bitter, make no mistake. It's a bitter pill to swallow and I'm not even in danger. But we will succeed, G-d willing, not by the might of arms but by the might of our faith.


KC's Blog said...

Hello :) I have been so worried about you and your family. I didn't know how close or how far you were from the missles. We pray for you guys every night, to keep you and your family safe.
Rabbi Brody is a wise man. He is absolutelt right, Hashem WILL triumph in the end no matter what we do. I believe this is why he has peace, he trusts in Hashem and knows.
We will always be praying for you,
your friends, Tina and Boys

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ilona@israel said...

its true that israel in a difficult situation now and its not just war with weapons-its also war in mass-media. so many blogs offer to people to boycott our country, lots of speculations about isral in gaza, crazy ahmadinejad who is swear that there was no holocost... we need to create more blogs and information that will open people's eyes...