“My heart is in the east, yet I am in the west.”
We have all watched the alarming escalation of Hamas terrorism over the last two days as hundreds of rockets are fired towards central Israel, towards civilian citizenry, in the hopes of harming and killing Jewish men women and children. We have watched the social media posts from our friends and families, with rising dread, awe, conviction, and anger, that our brothers and sisters are forced to endure this danger.
As I sit so far away from these dangers, and so far from my own friends and family sitting in their bunkers, I recognize that although there are not many things I can do with my outrage and sense of helplessness, I also must commit to doing those things I can do.
First, we can make sure we are vocal advocates. Too often mainstream media and even members of our own congress, peddle in distorted realities and moral equivalences. This is not a partisan issue, nor should we resort to partisan saber-rattling, it only takes away from the power of the objective truth: a definitively terrorist organization saying out loud they wish to murder and harm our people, and they are taking actions that match their words. Our people will defend ourselves. Make this point politely, proudly, and without any hint of apology. call your congressperson, your senator, work beyond the echo chamber of our own social media feeds and make sure your voice is heard.
Second, stay and feel connected. We must work hard to rebuff the complacency that is born out of our distance to these terrors. We must imagine it is our children that we must grab out of their beds at 3AM and carry to the bunkered safe room, or quickly unstrap from car seats and cover while crouching on the side of the highway. I suggest downloading an app like ‘Red Alert: Israel’ that is used by Israelis to warn of incoming rocket attacks. Let us feel alongside our brothers and sisters in Israel just how disruptive those alerts will be to our daily routine, and then let us remember that those chimes are only a casual reminder of the panic each alert induces in those that live in Israel and not in the diaspora.
Finally, and most impactful, we can pray continuously and with passion for the safety of all Israelis, for the wellbeing of our security forces and for their success in all their endeavors to keep Israel safe. As we turn to pages of our siddurim and Tehillim, Psalms, we will keep our hearts focused on Hashem’s protection which never sleeps nor slumbers.
May Hashem watch over all of Klal Yisrael, the Jewish people, and may he help bring a swift and just end to this violence, and a lasting peace for all people.
Rabbi Yaakov Green, MSE (Head of School – Akiba Yavneh Academy)