Uriel Vigler

Bring Them Home Now!

Our hearts are broken, shattered. 224 of our brothers and sisters are in captivity. 1400 murdered and thousands more wounded. How could this happen?!

We have no answers, only outrage. This unfathomable, barbaric massacre has shaken every Jew to the core. We are angry! Outraged. Stunned into silence. And we feel helpless. Antisemitism is raging and the world doesn’t care—not about us or about Israel. What will be?

Hamas is keeping 224 of our brothers and sisters hostage in their labyrinth web of tunnels winding for miles and miles under Gaza like a hidden city. It’s unbearable to think about.

It was during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 that the existence of these weaponized tunnels came to light, and it’s assumed that Hamas is keeping all the hostages there. The IDF will do everything in its power to search those tunnels, but what can we do?

We have to pray for the hostages and for the success of the Israeli army, but what else can we do? We are all antsy, we want to help. If we’re not soldiers, what action can we take?

Well, we’ve already started doing it. Brand new tunnels have come to light since the barbaric massacre on Simchat Torah: tunnels of love.

During this war, we’ve dug deep into ourselves and discovered powerful tunnels of love crisscrossing our nation, connecting us to one another and to our brothers and sisters in Israel. We are, regardless of outward differences, a nation that cares deeply.

As Jews, we have displayed the most incredible love towards one another. There are so many units in the army that are requesting different items: fleeces to keep them warm, sleeping bags, army boots, helmets, bullet-proof vests, tefillin, tzitizit … you name it. And whatever they want, Jews from all over the world have united and created WhatsApp chats and fundraising efforts to find, buy and distribute supplies, all in the shortest amount of time. It’s incredible to witness!

Jews who have been displaced from their homes due to missile attacks have been embraced and fully taken in by strangers, simply because they are their fellow Jews.

We are a nation like no other.

Hamas may have built tunnels of terror, but we are building and maintaining tunnels of love. We may be different on the outside—one seems to be secular, another ultra-Orthodox, one a kibbutznik, another chassidic—but when it really matters, we know how to ignore the external differences and dig deep, focusing on our commonalities: we are one nation, with one heart and one soul.

We are helping complete strangers in their time of need. The giving is unparalleled. It’s astounding!

There is not a Jew who hasn’t been shaken to the core. We feel the pain of the hostages; we feel the pain of each family that has had to be uprooted from their homes. We feel the terror of the children when a missile strikes and the anxiety of a whole country living on the front lines.

While we may be far away physically, the power of the spiritual is infinite! These tunnels of love that we are digging will find their way to our hostages, and give strength to our powerful army to find them and dig them out. May it happen very quickly!

Shabbat Shalom

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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