More Alive Than Ever

Friday, 10 November, 2023 - 10:12 am

Wounded, but more alive than we have ever been.

That's what I felt when visiting our brothers and sisters in Israel the last few days.

At the Sheba Medical Center, I listened to the stories of dozens of injured soldiers. Some were wounded on October 7th. Others were wounded in Gaza. Others witnessed their friends murdered in front of their eyes. Others were forced to kill terrorists. And, others could not describe the atrocities they saw.

But, what I learned in my quick visit is that all of them were burning with a sense of pride, purpose and spirit that is simply indescribable. Despite their wounds they were eager to heal so they could help their country again.

I have never seen Israel so absolutely united. Wherever I went we were all hugging each other. 

Despite the deep sense of mourning, Israel is in a state of heightened optimism and togetherness. All over are signs that say in Hebrew ביחד ננצח - Together We will be Victorious.

What gives a people this sense of purpose?

In this week's parsha Chayei Sarah, we learn about the marriage of Yitzchak and Rivka. Avraham dispatched his servant Eliezer to find a bride for his son Yitzchak.

When a series of providential signs leads him to Rivka, Eliezer asked the family whether he can take Rivka as a bride for his master's son. They responded with a delaying tactic, suggesting that Rivka be asked for her consent.  Rivka then stated, "I will go, even if you don't want me to."

And, off they went. They got married, and the rest is (literally) history.

Why does the Torah share this little detail, that Rivka insisted on going even if her family disapproved?

Being a Matriarch of the Jewish nation, Rivka bequeathed a characteristic to all generations of Jews. It is the trait of absolute devotion, of unfailing determination. 

And, this is the energy that I felt in Israel this week.

A nation that has been hurt and tested. And, a nation that has come together - with resolve and determination as Jews. 

People who consider themselves utterly secular were rolling up their sleeves to put on tefillin. One self-described secular soldier committed to put on tefillin daily when I offered to sponsor a set of tefillin. "How can I refuse," he told me, "when we are all in this together?"

it is this unity and devotion that will keep the Jewish people going despite the difficulties in Israel and abroad that we face today.

We will become stronger, not weaker - in body and in spirit.

Am Yisrael Chai!

Comments on: More Alive Than Ever
There are no comments.