These days, it’s easy to completely melt into a puddle of doom and fear when scrolling through the news or the ignorant, malignant Instagram comments of so many.
This morning, it was reported that Bolivia cut ties with Israel and Chile and Colombia recalled their ambassadors. There are death threats to Jews on college campuses, people tearing down posters of kidnapped children in major cities, lynch mobs across the world.
Jews in Paris are completely frightened, Holocaust flashbacks filling their minds as Jewish stars were imprinted on all their houses and businesses. The FBI just reported that antisemitism is reaching “historic levels” in the United States.
We are not living in normal times. The Israel-Hamas conflict is not a normal war. There is no logical explanation why defending one’s country after a horrific terrorist attack could cause so much retaliation from the greater world. The only answer is antisemitism.
The good news is, that because there’s no rationale to it, we know that something greater must be happening. Hashem has to be pulling the puppet strings and this terror, this not knowing who we can trust, means we can only really rely on Him.
Amidst the terror, pain and suffering of so many right now are also so many miracles. One of my Torah teachers, Rebbetzin Esther Baila Schwartz, said in a recent class that the miracles we’re seeing right now are greater than the splitting of the sea — the miracle we celebrate and recount on Pesach.
When you’re trying to sift through the hate, it can be hard to see, but if you put on a different pair of glasses for a second and focus on things from another angle, you can become reenergized and know that Hashem is there, behind-the-scenes, guiding this entire situation even if we don’t understand why.
Here, some miracle stories from Jews around the world:
“On Simchat Torah in Israel, the day of the attack, a rocket fell right before Kol Hane’arim, a time on the holiday where at tallit is draped over all the children and they are blessed. There were many women and children outside at the time. All four shuls next to where it dropped are built as a binyan kal which means the whole thing is just a metal frame with plaster and cinder block walls with no safe rooms. On top of everything, due to technical issues the sirens in the neighborhood weren’t working so every time a siren went off they heard it very faintly. If you were in the shul you didn’t hear them at all. The rocket did not explode!! The police came and closed off the street because the missile was loaded with explosive material that didn’t go off any of the times that people went near it before the police came.”
A young mom named Natalie woke up to the sounds of the alarms in her community. She realized that terrorists were running wild. She ran to the kitchen and grabbed som e knives, one for her and one for each of her children. Then they ran to the safe room. Soon after, she heard the sounds of a machine gun and cried out to Hashem that she would keep Shabbos if He kept her safe. She then saw the terrorists pass over her home.
The miracle gets even greater. That week, she and her family kept their first Shabbat in Sderot. After Shabbos, she came home and realized a rocket directly hit her home and landed in her bedroom. If she stayed in her home over Shabbat, the unthinkable could have happened. Her commitment to Shabbos saved her life and the life of her family twice.
A career army officer, Guy, lives further north and was celebrating Simchas Torah in Kiryat Gat, a 30-minute drive from Re’im. Hearing about the terrorist incursion, Guy got in his car and hurried south, carrying only his personal pistol. Arriving in the region of Re’im, Guy saw a badly wounded Golani soldier and took him into his car. At the same time, a Hamas terrorist shot at his car, but Guy maneuvered away and managed to shoot the terrorist dead. Taking the soldier’s gun, Guy killed another five terrorists on motorcycles. Having transferred the soldier to a field hospital, Guy joined a policeman traveling southward and once again they were attacked by terrorists. Guy and the policeman were injured in their legs and the car careened off the road. Guy was left in a ditch but still managed from there to eliminate more terrorists, after placing a tourniquet on his injured leg. He lay in the ditch for two hours with tens of dead terrorists nearby until the arrival of IDF forces. Unfortunately they thought that he was one of the terrorists as he was wearing civilian clothes. Guy cried that he was a soldier but was already weak from loss of blood. At the last minute one of the soldiers said: ‘Don’t shoot, he’s wearing tzitzis!’ and thus his life was saved. Guy was taken to Beilinson Hospital where he was operated on and is now being treated.
A rocket hit on Friday. It landed in someone’s backyard. Only one person was moderately hurt. Not only that, but the three families that were forced to leave their homes right before Shabbos, due to damage from the rockets, all ‘happened’ to have family right across the street to go to for Shabbos!
The western world at large is known to be pro-palastinian, yet the following things are happening:
This week one of the girls from Ohr Hachaim seminary contacted me and said she had 6000 shekel saved up, which she wanted to use to help Klal Yisroel. She asked me to buy 6000 shekel worth of tzitzis to distribute to soldiers in the south of the country. I tried to dissuade her from giving away all her savings, telling her there’s a limit to how much one is allowed to give to tzedaka, but she was adamant. Finally I found a way of acquiring 6000 shekel worth of tzitzis without her having to pay the entire sum. (My son didn’t hear the details of how this came about).
After I got the tzitzis, she said to me, “Wonderful. Now I would like you to go with my brother to the south and distribute them.”
“You’ve got to be kidding. I helped you until this point, but look for someone else to do the rest.”
But this girl was persistent. She said, “You can do it. You have protektzia.”
After arguing for a while, I agreed to try to fi\nd a way to do it. I contacted Hidabroot and they arranged for an army officer to take me in an army vehicle to a base in the south. We set out in a car full of tzitzis and drove until we reached כביש 262. There we were stopped by an army blockade.
“You can’t go any further,” they said, As much as we explained and argued, they wouldn’t give in. Eventually they told us that 3 terrorists had infiltrated nearby. Two were intercepted, but one got away and was somewhere in the vicinity, so no civilians were being allowed into the area. After waiting about an hour, I approached the officer in charge and used all my powers of persuasion to get him to let us through. He agreed to try to see what he could do. He made some phone calls and then came back and told me that they would arrange for a convoy to accompany us to the base – a few jeeps in front of us and a few behind us. A תת אלוף (high-ranking officer) got into my vehicle and we set off. As we were driving, he said to me, “After this is over the government will certainly appoint commissions to investigate all the mistakes and מחדלים that took place on Simchas Torah morning. But I already know what the conclusions will be. It’s as clear as day: מאת ה’ היתה זאת. It was the hand of Hashem.”
We traveled until we reached the base, where we got out of the car and started giving out the tzitzis. I saw a soldier standing a little distance away and wanted to gp over to him to give him a pair of tzitzis, but he motioned to me not to come closer. So I rolled the tzitzis up into a ball and threw them to him. It was windy, and a gust of wind blew the tzitzis ball away from the soldier towards a bush. Suddenly, someone stood up from behind the bush. It was the terrorist. He saw something flying towards him and it startled him. The soldiers shot at him והוא עלה לשמים עטוף בטלית (and he went up to Shomayim wrapped in tzitzis)
Iran’s foreign minister threatened to destroy Israel saying he would use an earthquake to do so. In response, Hashem sent an earthquake to Iran.
A car was burned to ashes on a local highway in Israel. The only thing that wasn’t touched and burned by the flames was a bag with Tefillin inside that remained perfectly intact. There are so many stories like this.
This month, Shaarei Zedek hospital reported that they broke an all-time record of the most babies born in one month at 1,823.
Rockets launched into Ashdod today and yesterday. No one was killed. A few people are in serious and mild condition in the hospital but the rockets targeted a school and yeshiva and all the students and children are okay. One man’s car burned but he managed to get out safely.