Motti Wilhelm

I am not that little girl hiding in the cellar!

A student proudly dons Teffilin and recites the Shema in the heart of Duke University. (Chabad of Duke UG)
A student proudly dons Teffilin and recites the Shema in the heart of Duke University. (Chabad of Duke UG)

This is not another Israel moment; this is one of the most consequential Jewish moments of our lifetime.

The enemy wants every Jew in the world to go into hiding: to hide their identity, to take down any Jewish display, and shutter their doors while internally nervous and afraid to be the Jews.

In a conversation made famous in the recent film “Golda,” Golda Meir tells Henry Kissinger:

“When I was a child in Ukraine… my father would board up the windows of our house to protect us from Cossacks who would get drunk and attack Jews. My father would hide us in the cellar… My father’s face, Henry, I will never forget that look. All he wanted to do was to protect his children. I am not that little girl hiding in the cellar!”

Now more than ever, we must not be that girl hiding in a cellar. We must be proud of our faith and lean into it at this defining moment.

We shall hang a Mezuzah on our door and declare that our space is one in which the message of our Creator resides.

We will put on Tefillin, conscripting our emotions and intelligence to the call of the Shema.

We will light Shabbat candles, bringing spiritual and physical light to the world.

Our mission of being a “light unto the nations” will not cower against this invasion of darkness. We will illuminate it and transform it.

Light will win. Light always does. We will spread light, hope, faith, and confidence.

The Israeli Defense Force is incredibly powerful. Better yet, they are protected by “Hashem, the Lord of all Armies.” We support them in their mission, and we pray for their success.

They are fighting for the Jewish people, and thus we commit to strengthening our Jewish connection.


  1. Be more Jewish. Do another Mitzvah. Light another candle. Every Jewish home is another point of light. Add your Mitzvah to a Million Mitzvas for Israel at
  2. Pray for the success of our defenders and support them in every way you can. They are the Maccabees heroically defending our peoplehood with their very lives.
  3. Give Tzedakah.  There are so many ways to support the people of Israel right now. One way is
About the Author
Rabbi Motti Wilhelm received his diploma of Talmudic Studies from the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand in 2003 and was ordained as a rabbi by the Rabbinical College of America and Israel’s former chief Rabbi Mordecha Eliyahu in 2004. He was the editor of Kovetz Ohelei Torah, a respected Journal of Talmudic essays. He lectures on Talmudic Law, Medical Ethics and a wide array of Jewish subjects and has led services in the United States, Canada, Africa and Australia. His video blog Rabbi Motti's Minute is highly popular as are his weekly emails. Rabbi Wilhelm and his wife Mimi lead Chabad SW Portland as Shluchim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
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