On א’ and ב’ תשרי, twenty days before שמחת תורה on כ”ב תשרי we cheerfully and jovially recited a few word-play puns with a naive innocence not contemplating in our wildest imagination how apt these words would shortly thereafter become. So to remind everyone of what seems like lifetimes and eons ago, I’d like to briefly review these familiar annual expressions.
Gezer – שהקב”ה יגזור עלינו גזירות טובות – שיגזרו אויבנו
Karti – שיכרתו אויבינו ושונאינו
Selek – שיסתלקו אויבנו
Kera – שתקרע רוע גזר דיננו ויקראו לפניך זכויותינו
Rubia – שירבו זכויותינו
My daughter, stepdaughter, and I have a new tradition where after lighting the candles and reciting the bracha ברוך אתה ה’ אלוהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציוונו להדליק נר של שבת we intentionally recite another prayer out loud “ושכל החטופים שלנו יחזרו הביתה בשלום”.
Today on Shabbat we had an אזעקה as we have on most days. I was struck by something so simple yet so profound which I had never realized before and which encapsulates the difference between us and our enemies so clearly. I saw that the man of every household would not leave his doorway and descend down the stairs to the miklat until he was sure that every single woman and child had already begun to descend the stairs. I saw that the men would refuse to close the door of the mamad until they could verify that everyone already took shelter.
This is in complete and utter contrast to our enemies. They purposefully and cowardly hide behind their women and children. They utilize the most vulnerable members of their population in order to very successfully gain the world’s sympathy. They value twisted acts of so-called martyrdom and shoot rockets from hospitals, schools, and residential buildings, in a despicable act of manipulation knowing full-well that we use the utmost care as to not target civilians.
To our enemies:
I have only ONE message for you
The world can testify that time after time throughout history without any exception
Evil will ALWAYS be conquered
We survived the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Nazis and we will also survive YOU.
I wrote a piece about a year ago recounting a true story of unexpectedly meeting the executioner of Eichmann on Purim and every single day I’m reminded of that story.