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.
Now, in 2023, Hamas has murdered, burnt and beheaded 1,400 Jews. Peace-loving civilians. Children. Babies. Thousands more are injured, hundreds of thousands are displaced, and 250 are in captivity, including babies, toddlers, and the elderly.
And no one cares. The world is silent.
Where’s the outrage? Where’s the noise? Where are all the human rights activists? How is it that when it’s Jews being massacred—in the worst attack against our people since the Holocaust—we are met with silence?
“How was it possible that men, women, and children were being burned and the world kept silent?” Elie Wiesel wondered in his Holocaust memoir, Night.
Yet here we are, almost 90 years later, wondering the very same.
And more than silence, the world marches and demonstrates for Hamas. How can anyone witness the Hamas atrocities and then go out and support them? But they do. They tear down posters of innocent hostages—Babies! Children!—and chant for death to the Jews.
It is absolutely astounding.
And yet, we are not broken. Horrified, yes. But broken? No.
How do we do it?
We have a secret weapon that we received 3,335 years ago along with the Torah: faith. A firm belief in G-d’s protection.
A Jew never breaks, and a Jew never gives up. We have G-d on our side. We have incredible soldiers who are sacrificing their lives for us. We have a nation united like never before. These are the things that will protect us.
That is our response to the haters who rip down posters and spew their hatred in the streets. We will not be broken by your lies! We will not be shattered by your silence! We will not be crushed by your hypocrisy!
No country in the world would tolerate the butchering of their children like Israel is expected to. We are allowed to defend ourselves!
Your threats and hatred only further unite us and cement our commitment to one another and to G-d.
No matter how bad things get, you will never break us.
Our response has to be to stand taller and prouder. We will display our Judaism with pride and joy. We will walk with our kippot on our heads. We will pray more, study more Torah. We will walk around with our tzitzit visible. We refuse to cower and hide or try to blend in.
The mother of Ori Megidish, who was rescued from Hamas captivity this week, was praying for her safe return. Even in the depths of her pain, while her daughter was still a hostage, she said, “I love you, G-d.”
And that’s what we say now, too. “I love you G-d and I love you all my fellow Jews!” We are alone, we have nobody to rely on besides for G-d and each other.
May we see the safe return of all the remaining hostages imminently.
Rabbi Uriel Vigler
An Unbroken Jew