Words of Chizuk – July 23rd, 2014

l’iluy nishmat Yuval Heiman who was just killed in Aza.

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Living in a world which you’re never alone.

First of all the good news! Elisheva Buchanan and Shira Shiran, are engaged.

Yes, there is so much good flowing, that it makes it possible to take a breath and feel some of the wonder of living in a world which you’re never alone.

Things are getting hotter here, and promises to get hotter still. The world is aflame with protest against the Israeli army protecting us here. They seem to think that Hashem’s miracles in protecting us from close to 2,000 missiles render going into Gaza to blow up the tunnels from which they come an unnecessary imposition on the lives of the people who chose a government that has leaders who as of this writing are concealed under a beehive of bunkers under Sheba Hospital in the heart of Gaza City. If we didn’t know that we aren’t alone, the voices that shrilly decry our right to exist would be terrifying. Once you let your heart, not just your mind, take in the reality of never being alone, everything is different. The Baal Shem Tov’s parents died when he was a child of five. His father’s last words to him were to never fear anything but G-d, and to love every Jew. Rabbi Simchah Kook of Rechovot started a campaign in which anyone who chooses to do so can be given the name of a specific soldier to pray for. He is “your” soldier. In this past week’s Parshah, the narrative of the war against the Midianites who tried to destroy us in every way, gives us a glimpse into where the rabbi got his idea. The Torah tells us that there were a thousand fighters selected from each tribe. Midrash Rabbah tell us that the breakdown is that each soldier had a civilian spiritual fighter praying for him and another civilian guarding the rest of the nation who remained in their homes. It is impossible for Jews to win a war without drawing down the help from heaven that can give us the force to prevail over enemies who are inevitably more numerous and more hostile than we can ever be.

Who are you?

If you want to join this project go to http://shmiraproject.com/, to get the instructions.

To get more of a handle of how this works, let’s go back a few months and be back at Purim. When the Talmud discusses the way the holiday should be celebrated (in a Mesechta aptly called Megillah) the question is raised whether women are obligated to hear the reading of the megillah. The answer is yes, because they were part of the miracle. A commentator called Ben Yehodaya asks exactly what miracle is the Talmud referring to. The women were certainly slated to be killed along with the men and the children. That’s no miracle (in fact, it is almost “natural” when you look at the history of Jews in exile‚Ķ.). They were also rescued, but that seemed to be G-d’s doing, not their doing. In order to answer his question, he asks what humans that could be called miraculous. His answer is that when Achashveirosh realized that Haman’s plan was one that would bring about a blood bath that would even reach his own palace; that his beloved wife Esther was Jewish, he added a new clause to the decree. He said that the day before the enemies of the Jews were to be able to execute their planned genocide, the Jews would be given royal authority to strike down their enemies. The megillah doesn’t tell us much more about what happened on that day. Obviously what you would expect to happen would be heavy house to house fighting. After all why would the sworn enemies of the Jews not try to kill them all before they themselves would be killed. The text of megillah reveals the “secret”, Hashem made them feel profound awe of the Jews, and they didn’t engage them in battle. Only the hardcore enemies were killed, because only they presented any opposition to the Jews. Since the women weren’t warriors, the Talmud’s question makes sense. They weren’t there on the battle field to face the worst threat we ever had in a place where there was no escape. Why indeed do we have to hear megillah- it seems that we were part of the threat, and part of the salvation, but not directly part of the miracle? He answers that they were the CAUSE victory- their prayers joined with Esther’s prayers bringing down the miraculous victory that we still celebrate today.

Don’t underestimate yourselves!

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Accepting the Yoke of Self Sacrifice

Rebbetzen Heller gives this class just moments after the tragic news broke of the murder of the three boys. Please download and share her words of guidance through this dark time.

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A Letter From Ancient Shushan

I feel like I am writing a letter to my friends back home from ancient Shushan in Esther’s time. As of this morning 335 rockets have been sent towards every part of Israel. They have landed for the most part in empty fields, but by no means exclusively in vacant areas. Ashdod, Rechovot, Ashkelon, Sderot, and many other cities have been attacked almost without respite. Nonetheless, there have so far not been the bloodbath that our enemies would like to see. There have been a small number of injuries (most, but not all, of which were not major, and were the consequence of running for shelter. There were two people who suffered fatal heart attacks, and one young man who was badly wounded by shrapnel). The Arabs have hit their own areas (Chevron, Bet Lechem, and Ramallah plus various small enclaves). There is only one word that describes what we are experiencing.

Miracle

WE human beings are so funny. Some girls have already created a new normal. “Yeah, there was a siren. Nothing happened (yawn). What else is new?” You can’t allow yourself this misguided ennui. Most of us yearn for Hashem’s love, but for reasons of His own, we often have to contend with the sort of concealment that forces us to face tests without seeing the One who is challenging us to maximize our human and Jewish potential. Now He has chosen to lift the curtain, and let us see His presence. His Hand is stretched out and you have to make a choice, whether or not to open your hand in return.

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