Motti Wilhelm

To Ohad 9, In Captivity

This photo provided by Avi Zichri shows his son, Ohad Munder-Zichri, on Oct. 1, 2023. (Courtesy of Avi Zichri via AP)
This photo provided by Avi Zichri shows his son, Ohad Munder-Zichri, on Oct. 1, 2023. (Courtesy of Avi Zichri via AP)

This week, Ohad Munder Zachary turned 9 years old while in captivity. Ambassador Michael Herzog is collecting birthday greetings for Ohad, which can be sent to Below, I share my message.

Dear Ohad,

We cannot even begin to imagine the torture, pain, isolation, loneliness, and confusion you are going through.

We have no idea where you are. Wherever it is, know you are not alone.

You are being held by terrible forces of darkness because you are a Jewish child. So, in a very real way, every Jewish child in the world is in captivity with you.

Moreover, every Jewish child who ever lived is in captivity with you. From the first Jewish child, Yitzchok, born 3,700 years ago, to Rena, who was born yesterday, from the children who crossed the sea to your friends who build Legos with you, everyone is with you.

The Torah tells us that when you are in captivity, Hashem’s light is also in captivity. In the words of the Zohar, “Shechinta Begalusa.”

I also want you to know that there is a part of you that is completely free. Your neshama, your soul, is not held in a dark tunnel. It is a source of light for the entire world. It is rallying the world to bring more and more light.

The army is focused on rescuing you, diplomats are working hard to secure your release, while Jews around the world are bringing more and more light into the world in an effort to banish the darkness. In our Portland preschool, the children give Tzedakah every day to help secure your release.

Tonight, millions of Shabbat candles will be lit, and mothers around the world will pray for your release. Students at colleges are wearing Kippahs at “Kippah on Campus” days to display their conviction that the light we spread will not go into hiding. Men are putting on Teffilin and families are hanging Mezuzot, all with the message “Am Yisroel Chai!”

Ohad, we do not know when and how this will end, but we know light will win. Light always does. You will be set free.

When you are, the entire Jewish people will hold you up on a chair and dance euphorically in Jerusalem.

I’m not sure what they will sing. For some reason, I hear them shouting: “Moshiach, Moshiach, Moshiach…oy yoy oy yoy yo yoy.”

Shabbat Shalom, Ohad. We are praying for good news.

Rabbi Motti

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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