Mordechai Soskil
Mordechai Soskil

Sending the next one to Israel: A father’s prayer

Ribbono Shel Olam (Master of the Universe), Melech Malchai HaMelachim (King of Kings),

I’m on the way back to Baltimore from JFK now after being blessed with the opportunity to send the next of my boys to Israel. Ribbono Shel Olam, we are incredibly grateful to say that. We’re so blessed and so grateful, and we are very aware of all the times and all the ways that this could have been derailed. We thank you in the only way that seems appropriate; we dedicate ourselves to helping each of our children grow in Torah and Judaism and we pray they will each grow to be avdei Hashem b’Simcha, joyous servants of Hashem.

And Ribbono Shel Olam, we’re scared. We’re scared for all the reasons that so many hundreds of families in this situation are scared. We’re scared because we want to believe, truly believe that Jerusalem, city of peace, home of your Glory is safe. But we’re parents, and we spend too much time on the internet, and we worry. And Ribbono shel Olam, you know that precious Ezra was one of mine. And so we worry. Please keep our children, YOUR CHILDREN, ALL OF THEM, safe and feeling loved so far from home.

Ribbono Shel Olam, perhaps I’m asking too much, but I know I’m not alone when I say that we worry about paying for this too. You know. I know You know. We’re trying to muddle our way through and live good Jewish lives in a good Jewish neighborhood, and help our kids live comfortable if modest lives, and it’s a lot. We’re grateful for our blessings and for Your constant guidance. Together we have seen, mamash, your Providence in our lives, and we feel so blessed. But we’re worried.

Of course, not sending him seemed like a worse choice. He needs this time, they all need this time, dedicated so exclusively to Torah and Avodat Hashem. You know these young neshamos need so badly the inspiration that comes from your holy people living lives of such dedication. They have their entire lives to worry about work and careers and shidduchim and fertility and tuition. Let them have this time to learn and grow in your holy land. They need it. He needs it. He needs rebbeim that will care about him and help him see in himself how amazing he can be. They all do. So we worry. Because we know that they can get something there they can’t get here and we can’t control that. So we worry.

Ribbono Shel Olam, before we got to JFK we went to visit Poppy at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont. We didn’t do that with the other and I’m not sure why we did it now with this one. Frankly, I’m rather confused theologically by it. But I felt something there and I know this son did too. Perhaps because he was Poppy’s favorite (sorry other children who will never read this, but it’s true.) Perhaps because Poppy was our family’s risk taker, our war hero. Our Rambo and Jack Bower, and Jason Bourne, all in one mustached, suave, pompadour-ed irreverent, loving smallish package. And we see a lot of that in this one. For Poppy, please keep him safe. For all the members of the Greatest Generation, that fought to save lives, and make lives, and build communities, and infrastructure and holy Jewish families, please keep them all safe.

Ribbono Shel Olam, we’re worried but we’re trusting. We’re scared but we’re faithful. We’re parents but we’re children and more than ever we rely on our Father in Heaven. Please help them learn well, please help them grow, please keep them safe and please remind them to call their moms.

And let us say Amen.

About the Author
Rabbi Mordechai Soskil has been teaching Torah for more than 20 years. Currently he is the Director of Judaic Studies for the high school at Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School. He is also the author of a highly regarded book on faith and hashkafa titled "Questions Obnoxious Jewish Teenagers Ask." He and his wife Allison have 6 children that range from Awesome to Fantastic. And now two precious granddaughters.
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