Motti Wilhelm

The US Stands with Israel. The Jew is Israel

In Portland, OR children post prayers and "Mitzvah notes" on a Kotel backdrop.
In Portland, OR children post prayers and "Mitzvah notes" on a Kotel backdrop.

President Biden courageously traveled this week to stand in Israel and make it unequivocally clear that the United States stands with it at this challenging time. The clarity of the message is supportive and encouraging.

To all those standing with Israel, thank you.

A Jew, wherever in the world they may be, cannot just stand with Israel: the Jew is Israel.

What happened on Simchat Torah was not an attack on a state, political party, or region: to the attacker, there was no difference between a young woman camping at a music festival and a Yeshiva student getting ready to dance with the Torah. The baby, soldier, and grandmother only had one thing in common: they were part of Am Yisrael, the Jewish nation.

Wherever, however, whomever a Jew is, they are part of Am Yisrael.

And thus, to paraphrase my colleague Rabbi Mendy Kaminker:

When they attack our babies, we have more babies.

When they destroy a community, we form more communities.

When they disrupt our music, we create more reasons for joy.

When they seek to intimidate us, we become emboldened.

In short: Should they seek fewer Jews and less Judaism, we will respond with more Jews and more Judaism.

Whether you are in Be’eri, Brooklyn, or Buenos Aires, a Jew does not just stand with Israel. A Jew is Israel. For us, Am Yisrael Chai is not simply a chant. It is a commitment.


I welcome your thoughts and feedback. Reach me via email or WhatsApp 1-503-381-7119.

About the Author
Rabbi Motti Wilhelm received his diploma of Talmudic Studies from the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand in 2003 and was ordained as a rabbi by the Rabbinical College of America and Israel’s former chief Rabbi Mordecha Eliyahu in 2004. He was the editor of Kovetz Ohelei Torah, a respected Journal of Talmudic essays. He lectures on Talmudic Law, Medical Ethics and a wide array of Jewish subjects and has led services in the United States, Canada, Africa and Australia. His video blog Rabbi Motti's Minute is highly popular as are his weekly emails. Rabbi Wilhelm and his wife Mimi lead Chabad SW Portland as Shluchim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
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