Don’t Watch the News—Make the News!
As war rages in our beloved Israel, our hearts are broken over the loss of innocent Jewish lives at the hands of bloodthirsty terrorists. Our minds obsess over the welfare of our hostages and the incessant rocket attacks on Israel. Adding insult to injury, the anti-Semites of the world shamelessly blame Israel for the atrocities in a you’ve-got-to-see-it-to-believe-it sham of blaming the victim for the crime.
Apparently, Israel is the only country that needs to defend itself for defending itself. The UN seems to be obsessed with human rights only as long as the victims aren’t Jewish—where their passion for anti-Semitism overwhelms their commitment to human rights.
We are outraged. We are desperately praying and hoping for Israel’s victory with as little loss of human life as possible. Is there anything we can do about it?
On Simchas Torah 1943, during the Holocaust—exactly eighty years prior to the outbreak of this war—the Previous Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn made the following declaration in Brooklyn, NY:
At this time of war, one must realize that this war is a spiritual one. Every day, first thing in the morning, one rushes to read the latest news of the war as reported in the newspapers.
However, if one wishes to know where things stand with regard to the war, one should rather take a look at where things stand with regard to the spiritual war. This is how one can come to know the latest news—how victorious are we in the spiritual war?
The day on which we enter the fifteenth day of the war is when we read Parshas Noach in the Torah in Shuls throughout the world. This portion gives us a powerful inspiration that empowers us to take action to alter the course of this war!
When Noach had finished building the Ark, and the animals had already entered it, he was finally ready to embark. When the Torah tells us that he entered the Ark “because of the rising waters” (Genesis 7:7), Rashi curiously points out that Noach was actually “lacking in faith” and thus needed to be forced into the Ark by the waters. Noach’s lack of faith is difficult for us to grasp—after all, he had personally spoken with G-d and had actually fulfilled G-d’s request to build the massive Ark himself. The Torah itself testifies that Noach was “a righteous man” (Genesis 6:9)—how could he possibly have been lacking in faith?!
The Chassidic master, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev (1740-1809), sheds light on this enigma with a perspective that electrifies us into action even today, over two hundred years after his passing. He points out that the faith that Noach was lacking was not in G-d, but in himself! Noach refused to believe that he could make a difference in the course of human history. He viewed himself as a pawn on the chessboard of life, instead of as a powerful general at war. Thinking of himself as insignificant, incompetent, and incapable of making a difference, he simply went with the flow. Never once did he try to make a difference—to protest G-d’s proposed flood or to influence the outcome through his actions. He saw himself as a thermometer instead of as a thermostat.
When it comes to the war in Israel, there is an action that you can take that will guarantee G-d’s Divine intervention and the Jewish victory. But it requires us to believe in ourselves. You must believe that your individual action will make all the difference for the outcome of this war:
The Torah promises us victory over our enemies when Jews lay Tefillin.
“And the nations of the land will see the name of G-d upon you and they will fear you. (Devarim 28:10)”
The Talmud (Menachos 35b) clarifies that “the name of G-d upon you” refers specifically to the Tefillin of the head.
Drawing on this Torah promise, just 48 hours before the Six-Day War, the Rebbe passionately called on global Jewry to reach out and lay Tefillin with every Jewish male over the age of Bar-Mitzvah, regardless of their observance, convictions, or affiliation. The Rebbe promised that our collective effort would result in the miracle of victory in Israel over our enemies.
Our brave IDF soldiers are fighting from the land, air, and sea. But the rest of world Jewry is not mere passive spectators in this theater of war. We are active-duty soldiers in the spiritual brigade of the Jewish nation. Our combined global efforts in laying Tefillin with more Jewish men than ever before will result in miracles of Biblical proportion, just like in the Six-Day War.
Countless men in our community are laying Tefillin this week for the first time in their lives. Three men in their upper eighties laid Tefillin for the first time since their Bar Mitzvahs. Over 36 men in our community are now laying Tefillin daily. It takes just two minutes to fulfill this life-saving mitzvah. We urge you too to join the revolution because YOU MATTER.
As the IDF is preparing a ground invasion in Gaza, we are calling for a spiritual ground invasion where everyone we know lays Tefillin for Israel. if these young soldiers are courageous enough to bear arms for us, we owe it to them to bear our arms for them!
And for the women: Shabbos Candles in Hebrew is “Neshek” which means “Weapons”. We urge you to light Shabbos Candles each Friday afternoon to fight for Israel.
You can always pray for Israel at JewishGardens.com/Pray
We urge you to realize that they need YOUR spiritual support. You matter and your actions will turn the tide of this war! Please stop into the Shul once a day to lay Tefillin to unleash the Biblical promise of “The Nations of the Land will see the name of G-d upon you!” keeping our soldiers from harm, returning our hostages safely, and successfully wiping out the terrorists from the face of this earth.
Together, we can change the world one arm at a time.
Rabbi Dovid Vigler
Chabad of Palm Beach Gardens
6100 PGA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
JewishGardens.com | 561.624.2223