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Jeffrey Levine
CFO | Seeking a just world I Author

Parsha Tzav – Resilience

Parshat Tzav teaches us the essence of sacrifice, the essence of offering a קרבן – ‘korban’. Bringing a ‘korban’ to bring yourself close to Hashem (God)  is an especially holy and delicate service.

Parsha Tzav also teaches us about giving thanks – Gratitude

Rabbi Sacks references this to the Korban Toda, a Thanksgiving offering. This Thanksgiving offering is actually a very simple offering of unleavened bread and oil—a bit of matzah with a bit of oil.

He also said that the idea of  simple prayer said first thing in the morning – Modeh Ani is basically based on the Korban Todah. He writes that the word Ani is after the word Modeh, which is to be thankful. So typically, in English, you say I want to give thanks, I give thanks to God, or whatever it is. Emphasis on the I.

But here we put the word thanks first. And this is a form of gratitude. And that we recognize the great goodness and blessing in our lives that we are not worthy of but receive anyway.

And here, I want to reference this to selflessness. we can see that many Jews and Israelis are selfless, and basically, we have a big thanks to all those soldiers who have put their bodies and lives on the line. Some have died, and some have been maimed for this greater cause. So, that is the idea of gratitude and gratitude in life. And this is the essence of sacrifice.

Today, Israel is under stress. Today, it is the stress and pain of war that our friends and enemies around the world do not see  the just cause we are fighting for it. We can not fathom the world’s collapse of morals and rationality and their siding with evil and Hamas.

In these times, we need to be resilient, not only thick-skinned, but also develop new ways to cope.

October the 7th has challenged each of us to grow and identify our Judaism and the role of Israel.

Rabbi Abraham Twersky famously tells us about how the Lobster grows.

That rigid shell does not expand. Well, how can the lobster grow? As the lobster grows, that shell becomes very confining, and the lobster feels under pressure and uncomfortable. It goes under a rock formation to protect itself from predatory fish, casts off the shell, and produces a new one.

The stimulus to be able to grow is to feel uncomfortable! Times of stress are also times that are signals for growth.

Yes, Israel is under stress.

The lobster is a soft, squishy animal that lives inside a hard shell. It is protected but stunted. The hard shell—its current state is “normal”—actually prohibits its growth and development. As the animal grows inside the shell, it becomes squeezed, uncomfortable, and stunted and is under tremendous stress.

And this Lobster is Israel today.

Here, I want to share What Rabbi Doron Perez said at the Shiva for his son Daniel, who died on 7 October defending his people and country as a Hero. Daniel immediately ran to his tank and fought valiantly, saving the lives of many of his fellow soldiers, as well as civilians. Eventually, his tank was surrounded by terrorists, and he was taken hostage.

Hamas, in their cruelty, let us believe that he was a hostage, and only after 162 days did the evidence of his death become known: Such agony. Not knowing such agony over the death of a son and brother.

Here are his words from the heart and pain.

“Thank you for coming. I think one of the strengths I’ve been saying is that we’ve had a lot of solidarity groups at Mizrahi to which I’ve been speaking. I don’t think Hamas or Hezbollah, in their worst nightmares, saw the consequences of what would happen on October 7th. Instead of a nation that didn’t turn up for reserve duty and pilots who wouldn’t fly, they all rallied to the cause,

Did you understand what I said? Okay. I will repeat.

I just wanted to say that Hamas did not believe we would rally to the fight. The head of the Shabbak told us that they found documentation which clearly shows that Hamas, from their plan, was sure that a lot of reservists wouldn’t come, pilots wouldn’t fly, and there would never be the turnout of Geburah (strength) that happened in the way that it did. And they misunderstood who the Jewish people are.

Our enemies see our ability to fight with each other; we’re outstanding at fighting each other, we’re very good at that, but we always say, if I came back as a non-Jew, I would want to be an enemy of the Jewish people because you’ll get treated with such respect. I’d want to be a prison of the Jewish people and do degrees and eat well and eventually get out in a deal, and it’s a good life.

Throughout History, the Jews have been a compassionate people. Our enemies know it . we Jews, and we’ve got a Neshama a soul), and we’re also Westerners; we know how to live and let live.

And our enemies saw this, see this as a weakness, and they saw all the machlokot (arguments) as weaknesses, which they are, They came on that day, killed and tortured, and what they did, yes, they killed our son, and they killed 300 other soldiers and 85 officers and 1,200 people all in all, and another 250 have died, almost 300 if you include in the north and other places. And yes, we’re still fighting, but we will prevail.

We’ll prevail because we have come together as one people, one heart . Despite being ideologically divided; we are One People. One Nation.

When you shake the bear or wake the lion, we come up as one people; we put all of our machlokot aside, and 300,000 people came back from the Gola (diaspora). Our sons, one of whom was on the border, Yonatan, left here at eight o’clock in the morning and went straight to Litvuk b’mesimah, like all of our children and all of our Ezrahim (citizens). And people say that the soldiers are fighting, their Gevura (bravery) is unparalleled, the self-sacrifice.

And unfortunately, it took Hamas to remind us of this, and they will pay the price for that. Please, God, we’ll bring every single one back and rid the world of such a horrific Nazi-like regime which traffics in human beings and trades in human beings. It’s the worst of the worst. If you see Amalek throughout the Torah and Tanakh, there are people who traffic in human beings, people who steal human beings and then play cards with human beings. It was just a game. You’re stealing human beings, and now you want to prize for a child that you stole from their crib.

But what did they do?

They united us, and they showed us who we sometimes forget who we are.

And that’s what this is about. I’ve often said in, I say that, you know, Hassan Nasrallah Yemakhshamo, the head of Hezbollah, has said that Israel is a spiderweb. They look very strong, but they’re just this temporary crusader state that, with one fell swoop, you can destroy.

They started to realize that what joins us is what Chazal says, of ropes of love. Yes, we don’t always show it, and we can argue ourselves to death. And sometimes, the way we argue is not what it should be and how we end it.  We have many challenges and still have.

But what connects us is something much, much, much deeper. And unfortunately, sometimes it just takes the blood of Daniel Z ’L to remind us of that, and we should never forget it. And his body will come back. All the bodies will come back. The love will come back. Be healing for the sick; not one more of our soldiers should fall. It should rid the world of this human trafficking, Nazi-like, horrific, inhuman desire of people who shed others’ blood and kill their own people.

The world, like us, needs to be rid of these Nazis. Sometimes you hear this nonsense. People say you can’t destroy an idea. We’re not trying to destroy an idea. You can never destroy what people think. But you can make sure that that idea does not have a regime to implement its murderous ways. There are still millions of Nazis in the world, but who cares? There’s no Nazi regime. There’s no Nazi regime, and Hamas needs to be dismantled so that this murderous regime which did this thing to us and burnt our children in Nachal Oz, the place that both my sons fought in and were injured in, many, many chayalot (woman soldiers) and were burnt and gassed.  The last soldier to be identified was a girl whose parents had come to talk to me before because they knew that Yonatan fought in Nachal Oz. She wanted to talk to him. It took her a long time to identify because there was ash, they were gassed and they were burnt. They wanted to remind us of the Shoah (Holocaust), and boy, they have reminded us, and they will pay the price.

Not because we are a people of Nakama (revenge), but because we are a people of justice, and they will pay the price.

We are fighting for ourselves and the world to rid the world of a regime which traffics in human beings, steals children from their cribs, kills innocent people and doesn’t know the meaning of live and let live. And our son’s and many other sons’ blood and children were spilt for that, and we have a lifetime to deal with it.”

We’ve got a lifetime to deal with the pain, but this week is a week from the Lubayya (funeral) until Sunday to honour our son, to honour his servants and to remind ourselves what kind of people we are. “

And to overcome this pain, we have to grow new shells.

Image sourced on Facebook

About the Author
Jeffrey is a CFO | Seeking a just world I Author -living in Jerusalem. He is a young grandfather who has five kids and seven grandchildren. Jeffrey is promoting a vision for a better and fairer world through https://upgradingesg.com and is the author of Upgrading ESG - How Business can thrive in the age of Sustainability
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