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Uriel Vigler

7 lessons from Operation Shield and Arrow

Those of us who aren't dashing to bomb shelters can act in solidarity with those who are by taking on these 'best practices'
The Iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel, in Sderot on May 10, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
The Iron Dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel, in Sderot on May 10, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

Israel is under attack yet again, for what feels like the millionth time. Make no mistake, this is war and we are all affected. Our enemies hate us all, regardless of where we live. If they could, they would bomb us here in New York too.

But those of us not in the line of fire, what can we do? How can we help our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, who are dashing to bomb shelters whenever the air raid siren sounds?

The Baal Shem Tov taught that we have a lesson to learn from everything that happens in our lives, so here are seven things we can take upon ourselves in the current situation.

1. A Jew is a Jew. Our enemies do not differentiate between religious and secular; they want to murder us all equally. To counter this, we need to target every Jew with love, religious or not. So go out this Shabbat, and find a Jew you haven’t met before, and shower him or her with love.

2. Unshakeable commitment. Our enemies will never ever give up, that’s clear. No matter how many times Israel triumphs, their hateful and violent attempts will continue unabated. How do we counter this? By standing firm in our steadfast commitment to one another. No matter what life throws at us, we can’t give up on loving and supporting our Jewish brothers and sisters.

3. Help indiscriminately. The terrorists fire their rockets indiscriminately. Only about 25% actually go anywhere. We can embrace their technique when it comes to doing acts of goodness and kindness. Instead of thinking and analyzing endlessly before we commit to a new mitzvah, just go for it. The more good deeds we throw out into the world, the more likely they are to land where they need to.

4. Children as “weapons.” The terrorists hide behind their children because they know that the IDF will do anything to avoid harming innocent children and civilians. We, too, need to focus on our most powerful “weapon” — our children. Teach them Torah, bring them to shul, make sure Shabbat is done in a way that is enjoyable for them. Give them positive associations with Judaism, and they will pass it along to the next generation, leaving the chain of tradition intact.

5. Counter fear with joy. Millions of Israelis are struck with terror every time they hear the air raid sirens. It sows tremendous fear and panic. From afar, we can focus on increasing our joy and having them in mind. Say an extra l’chaim for them this Shabbat. Send positive vibes their way, because Hasidism teaches us that positive thinking can truly affect the outcome of a situation.

6. Spread the truth. The world media spreads blatant falsehoods, with headlines like “Israel Attacks Gaza.” They refuse to report the truth, so it’s left to us to do so. We need to keep finding ways to get the truth out there. Again and again. Eventually, truth will prevail.

7. Hunker down. Israelis are currently running to their bomb shelters and hunkering down while missiles fly indiscriminately from Gaza. Let’s go into our spiritual “bomb shelters,” hunker down and pray hard that G-d will end the war and bring Moshiach and everlasting peace.

About the Author
Zimbabwean-born Rabbi Uriel Vigler has been directing the Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side of Manhattan together with his wife Shevy since 2005. In addition, he founded Belev Echad which helps wounded IDF soldiers. He has a weekly blog on current events. He is the proud father of eight children (including triplets) and leads a very young, vibrant and dynamic community.
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