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Dovid Vigler

Standing Together is the Only Thing that Keeps Us from Falling Apart

Photo by 2023 Leonard Bryant Photography at Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=741045358051757&set=a.741046071385019
Photo by 2023 Leonard Bryant Photography at Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=741045358051757&set=a.741046071385019

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much!

Why is it that we feel personally insulted by the recent debacle of the ivy league school presidents congressional hearing? If you don’t have a family member in those schools, why should it matter to you? Why are we unable to move away from tracking every detail in Israel’s War on Terror—do you have family members who were victims of the massacre or fighting in the war?

March 12, 1911, Kiev, Ukraine. Thirteen-year-old Ukrainian boy Andrei Yushchinsky disappeared on his way to school. His mutilated body was discovered eight days later near a brick factory. The Jewish supervisor of the factory, 39-year-old Mendel Beilis, father of five, was arrested for murder for Jewish ritual purposes.

Though there was no evidence to incriminate him, the viciously antisemitic prosecution preposterously claimed that the Jews baked matzahs with gentile blood. Though this accusation has no basis in fact (Jews are forbidden from consuming any blood at all—even a speck of blood in a chicken egg must be discarded), the notorious “blood libel” had been used as a weapon against Jews since 1144, nearly 800 years prior to the false accusation of Mendel Beilis.

Though the Jews had lulled themselves into a false sense of security in the modern times that they lived in, thinking that such blatantly antisemitic acts could never rear their ugly heads again, they were shocked to discover how wrong they were. One of the main arguments of the prosecution was that Jews don’t consider Gentiles to be human! They quoted the Talmud (Yevamos 61a) which declares that only Jewish corpses are impure, but gentile corpses are pure. The Talmud says the reason is because, in the Torah, “only Jews are called ‘Adam’ but the non-Jews are not called “Adam”!”

This twisted interpretation of the Talmud was clarified by the brilliant Jewish defense, in the Russian court as follows: All Hebrew nouns have a plural but the word Adam—one of the many Hebrew words to describe man— has no plural form. We refer to a single man, as well as a group of men, as Adam. The reason the Jews are called Adam is because Jews are one giant organism. When one of us is attacked, we are all attacked. And if someone has a problem with a Jew in Israel, they will have no qualms taking it out on a Jew in Palm Beach or Penn State. This cannot be said of any other nation—when American citizen Amanda Knox was accused of murder in Italy in 2011, no Americans felt that they were being personally persecuted by the Italians!

Indeed, when it comes to the Jewish nation, We are one for all and all for one—because we are truly a single entity. We are Adam. This explanation left a deep impact on the court. After a long trial, the court threw out the charges, which were clearly fabricated. Mendel Beilis was set free.

Of the many inspiring and moving truths that are coming to light from Israel’s War on Terror, something that doesn’t cease to amaze me is the incredible synchronicity of all parts of Israel’s leadership, which is working to achieve our collective goals, like a well-oiled machine.

Israel’s diplomatic leaders know that Hamas’ reluctant agreement to release hostages was the result of the sustained military pressure placed on the enemy by the IDF. Foot soldiers fighting dangerous hand-to-hand combat are in close contact with the air force and Navy, whose precision missiles can neutralize targets with a one-meter margin of error, keeping the infantry safe from booby traps and ambushes! Each unit that enters into street fighting is made up of four departments, including engineering, infantry, intelligence, and special forces.

In a remarkable story that recently emerged, Israel’s intelligence picked up on an internal Hamas conversation that had successfully dug a tunnel beneath an entire IDF battalion’s sleeping quarters. As they were preparing a midnight ambush on the soldiers, the IDF neutralized them and exploded their deadly tunnel labyrinth beneath their own tents.

As American Jews, we are part of the single corpus of the Jewish nation. We play a vital role in the safety and success of our brothers and sisters on the front lines of war. When the Maccabees of the Hanukkah story fought valiantly against the Greeks, it was the oil that miraculously burned for eight days that reminded them all that it was the hidden hand of G-d that was the secret to their success. In exactly the same way, we light the menorah each night of Hanukkah to publicize the miracles of G-d’s Divine protection as our secret weapon.

When we, the Jews of the Diaspora, make the effort to light our Hanukkah menorahs, we are providing the spiritual cover that our soldiers need to succeed, channeling G-d’s miraculous blessings upon them. Like a single organism working in perfect harmony, every member of the Jewish nation needs to stand up and be counted. If you are unable to fight with your hands, then it’s your responsibility to fight with your heart and soul—as you kindle the Hanukkah lights, shining G-d’s grace upon our nation’s warriors.

Now is the time for fearless faith. Light your Hanukkah menorah by your window to show the world that, in addition to being proud Jews, we celebrate G-d’s protection over us—rendering us unintimidated and unafraid of anyone who tries to hurt us. The menorah in your window tells us the world that we are here to stay and that no one will succeed in turning off our light.

https://imgur.com/gallery/JCyFq

Placing the menorah in your window serves as a powerful reminder to others—and ourselves—that the guardian of Israel, neither slumbers nor sleeps. When we open our hearts to G-d, G-d opens his heart to us.

Our collective efforts will surely lead to the fulfillment of the Hanukkah blessings: “To G-d Almighty who made miracles for us in those days and in these days too!”, because when people ask me if I have family in Gaza, I know that I do: every hostage, every victim, and every soldier, is my brother and sister!

_______________________
Rabbi Dovid Vigler
Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens

6100 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
JewishGardens.com | 561.624.2223

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About the Author
Raised in South Africa and educated in some of the finest Yeshivas in Israel, England, New York, and Australia, Rabbi Dovid Vigler strives to share the beauty and depth of Judaism in a clear, conversational, and down-to-earth manner. Whether in private counseling, relatable sermons, weekly email broadcasts, or in his popular Torah classes on social media, he reaches out to every Jew with unconditional love, patience, and compassion. His inspirational talks and uplifting messages can be found on YouTube.com/JewishGardens and Facebook.com/JewishGardens
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