Areyah Kaltmann

Arnon Zamora, the second Jewish commando who gave his life to save Jews in Gaza

Arnon Zmora, who was killed in a mission to rescue hostages held in the Gaza Strip, June 8, 2024. (Israel Police)

This past week, the Jewish people mourned Arnon Zamora, a fallen hero and a Commander in the elite Yamam hostage recovery Unit. He and his team led the daring operation to rescue 4 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza and Arnon ultimately sacrificed his life for the Jewish people to bring them home.

Hasidic tradition teaches that G-d sends messages through the precise timing, locations and unfolding of events. In global affairs and in our own lives, we see the hand of G-d through Divine Providence in all that we encounter. With this knowledge, it’s natural to ask if there’s a possible lesson we can derive from the tragic passing of this great hero Arnon Zamora?

One of the key lessons is that the greatest use of our lives is to use it in the service of others. Selflessness is a holy trait. When we sacrifice for others, we affirm that our lives ultimately amount to more than just selfish endeavors: building our own economical fortunes, accolades or fame. Our connection to our G-d and our people transcend any possible material gain, no matter how many generations our physical assets can possibly last.

Tomorrow, Jews throughout the world will read the story of Samson in the Haftarah. It describes how an ordinary woman produced the ultimate judge who selflessly gave up his life to protect his people. Heroism is not something that exclusively belongs to certain families of an elite pedigree, but rather it is attainable by the masses.

Gaza is drenched in murdered Jewish blood. 2923 years ago, Samson gave up his life in order to defeat the Philistines, the arch enemies of the Jews. In fact, the Talmud states that the Hebrew name Shimshon, is derived from the word “Shamash” meaning protector and from the word “Shemesh”, meaning sun because Samson protected his people with the brilliance of the mighty sun.

Although Samson perished while killing 30,000 evil Philistines, thousands of years later he is remembered as a selfless hero, who understood the importance of perpetuating the Jewish people. Our modern day Samson, Arnon Zamora will forever be remembered as a Jew who did everything he could to help a fellow Jew in desperate need.

The greatest use of life is to use it for something that will outlast us in the service of G-d and the Jewish people.

Good Shabbos,


About the Author
Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann is the Director of Chabad Columbus at the Lori Schottenstein Chabad Center. For over three decades, Rabbi Kaltmann and his wife Esther have put their heart and soul into serving the Columbus Jewish community. In addition to directing Chabad Columbus, the Rabbi and his family also operate LifeTown Columbus — which teaches essential life skills to more than 2,100 Ohio students with special needs in a 5,000-square-foot miniature city, Kitchen of Life — which fosters social-emotional skills for young people through culinary arts, Friendship Circle Columbus, the Jewish Business Network, and dozens of other programs. Areyah and Esther have adult children who serve Chabad of Downtown Columbus, oversee Chabad’s many programs and enthusiastically serve people throughout the state.
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