Listen closely: You will never break us!
When my grandfather was deported to Auschwitz, and his wife and children were murdered by the Germans in the gas chambers, he was traumatized and deeply and permanently scarred, but not broken.
When my other grandfather grew up an orphan in Israel in the 1940s, after seeing the Turkish police beat his father to death and watching his mother die from starvation a few weeks later, he suffered tremendously, but he wasn’t broken.
When our nation fought for its very survival in 1948, ‘56, ‘67 and ‘73 it was rough. We lost tens of thousands of our soldiers, with many more severely wounded and deeply traumatized, but we didn’t break.
It’s 2021 and we see Jews being viciously assaulted in a restaurant in Los Angeles.
It’s 2021 and a rabbi is attacked on a London street simply for being a Jew!
It’s 2021 and two Jews are beaten and pursued by an angry mob of 40 Arabs in the streets of Manhattan.
We are horrified and outraged, but we are not broken.
In London, Paris, Toronto and virtually every other major city, Jews are feeling unsafe. When I walk on the Upper East side, I am constantly alert and assessing for any imminent threat. Nevertheless, we stand strong and unbroken.
How do we do it?
You see, as Jews we have a secret weapon that we received along with the Torah, 3,333 years ago: Faith—a firm belief in G-d’s protection.
A Jew never breaks, and a Jew never gives up. As Jews, we will continue fighting and protecting ourselves, just like the two Golani soldiers who fought off a crowd of 40 Arabs in Manhattan this week.
And that is our response to the world who condemns Israel for defending herself. No country in the world would tolerate 3000 rockets falling in its cities and civilian areas, yet the entire world is outraged when Israel protects itself.
We will not be broken by your lies!
In fact, the threats and hatred only further unite us and cement our commitment to one another and to G-d.
So let’s do more mitzvot! Our response has to be to stand taller and prouder. We will display our Judaism with pride and joy. We need to walk with our Kippot on our heads. We need to pray more, to study more Torah. We need to walk with our tsitisit on us proudly! We refuse to cower and hide or try to blend in.
So hear this and hear it well: No matter how bad things get, you will never break us!
Rabbi Uriel Vigler
An Unbroken Jew