Gil Mildar
As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.

Pikuach Nefesh

Pikuach Nefesh, at first glance, seems like a simple expression. But for those who have faced the abyss, who have felt the urgency of life and death in their flesh, know that it is not just about saving a life. It is the core of our humanity, the ultimate proof that we can still call ourselves human.

On the fateful day of October 7th last year, the Hamas attack was not merely an act of violence; it remains a pulsating wound in the soul of all of us. The hostages are not just individuals torn from their routines; they are fragments of our existence, held captive by the shadow of terror. It is not a matter of diplomacy, politics, or military strategy. It is a matter of life. It is Pikuach Nefesh.

Each hostage is a universe, a cosmos of memories, dreams, and hopes. Not rescuing them is allowing the void to win, letting the darkness swallow what remains of the light. Pikuach Nefesh demands decisive action, an urgent movement. It is a cry for help, a call for humanity not to be lost.

Freeing these hostages is not a favor; it is a moral obligation. It is a reaffirmation that, despite everything, we still have to protect each other and fight against inhumanity with all our strength. In the end, saving a life means keeping the entire world. And each hostage that remains in the hands of terror is a part of the world we are leaving behind.

In the recent heroic operation named “Operation Arnon,” four Israeli hostages were freed from the clutches of Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. The rescue of Noa Argamani, Almog Meir Jan, Andrey Kozlov, and Shlomi Ziv was an act of bravery that exemplifies the actual value of Pikuach Nefesh. This operation was a strategic triumph and a powerful reaffirmation of our sacred duty to protect and preserve human life.

The operation was named “Operation Arnon” in honor of Arnon Zamora, a Yamam police commando who lost his life during the rescue. With his bravery and determination, Arnon personified the spirit of sacrifice and courage that defines Pikuach Nefesh. He faced the unimaginable challenge of ensuring others could return home to their loved ones. His death was not in vain; it was a testament to the power of the human spirit in its purest and most selfless form.

Recently, I received a video of the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and liked it so much that I sought more about what he said about Pikuach Nefesh. Sacks reminds us that “the principle of Pikuach Nefesh — saving a life — is above all other laws of the Torah. There is no greater sanctity than human life.” His words are a powerful reminder of our sacred duty to act, not to allow human life to be trivialized or lost amid chaos and violence.

Pikuach Nefesh is not just an abstract concept; it is a palpable urgency, an imperative that transcends all barriers. Human life cannot be negotiated, traded, or sacrificed in the name of any ideology—every second counts. Every life matters. In the despair of the hostages, in the anguish of the families, resides our most extraordinary proof of humanity. Failing to act, failing to save, betrays the essence of what it means to be human.

Every day that passes without the release of the hostages, a part of us dies with them. We cannot allow darkness to triumph. The light of life must prevail, and our determination must be unwavering. Because Pikuach Nefesh is more than a law; it is the essence of our existence.

The release of the four hostages is a reminder that even in the darkest circumstances, human life must be preserved at all costs. This is the ideal moment to forge an agreement that frees the remaining hostages and reaffirms our commitment to life and humanity. The callousness of those who talk about Palestinian casualties without considering the crossfire faced by Israeli soldiers is an insult to our struggle for life. The rescue mission is not just a military action; it embodies Pikuach Nefesh, the living flame of our humanity.

Arnon Zamora will be remembered as a hero and a symbol of what it means to sacrifice everything for another. His memory will be eternally honored, and his spirit will live on in every life saved, in every hostage freed. In the end, saving a life means keeping the entire world.

About the Author
As a Brazilian, Jewish, and humanist writer, I embody a rich cultural blend that influences my worldview and actions. Six years ago, I made the significant decision to move to Israel, a journey that not only connects me to my ancestral roots but also positions me as an active participant in an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. My Latin American heritage and life in Israel have instilled a deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice. Through my writing, I delve into themes of authoritarianism, memory, and resistance, aiming not just to reflect on history but to actively contribute to the shaping of a more just and equitable future. My work is an invitation for reflection and action, aspiring to advance human dignity above all.
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