Life can break my heart. I’m sure you feel the same from time to time. Life can do that.
Most recently, my heart was broken by the troubling reality that 8,000 rockets have been fired into Sderot and that these erratic killers have hurt so many. My heart breaks for the people of the city, in which a little boy almost lost his arm and families huddle together underground, while rockets bombard their homes day in and day out. Parents know it is their job to keep their children safe. How must they feel about their task as rockets rain down on them?
My heart breaks for the fathers and mothers of our Israeli brothers and sisters who have fallen in the line of duty while defending Eretz Yisrael and the Jewish people. It breaks for all Israeli parents who are witness to their child going off to battle.
Rabbi Ovadi Yosef, the spiritual leader of Shas party and former chief (Sephardi) rabbi of Israel, bids all Jews to pray for the safety of Israel Defence Forces soldiers. He asked that these prayers not only be said on Shabbat but on Monday and Thursday as well, the two weekdays when the Torah is read.
“Our soldiers, the Israel Defence Forces, contribute themselves selflessly, enter the lion’s den… how they need to be blessed. Had it not been for them, would we have time to study the Torah? To turn to the books?” he said.
Let us pray then, so as to mend our broken hearts, to protect our sons and daughters and so that we can live like Jews.
And my heart bleeds for the 14-year-old Palestinian killed during the fight as the violence spilled over into the West Bank after the Gaza incursion.
Fourteen is young, too young to die. And the children, infants who were killed in Gaza were only that, little beings born into the misfortune of a war zone and misdirected by their leaders. I can only be sad for the loss of life when that life is so young. It will not impede my resolve to secure our State of Israel and the Jewish people, but I will never get used to the fact that children lie lifeless in a morgue, stilled by bullets and battle. We are told never to celebrate the death of our enemies, and most of us are good at that. We are also told by our teachings that everything is a creation of God.
My heart breaks knowing that it is the Israelis who are on the front line of our physical fight to ensure the continuation of the Jewish people. Our partnership with them seems so uneven. And as I get older, the faces of the fallen soldiers posted on websites look so much younger. 18, 19, 20. So much younger.
If your heart is breaking for Israel, for the innocent blood shed, for all those children dying around the globe through war, famine, disease and poverty, then you are awake.
Share your thoughts with others. Thank the IDF for sticking up for us, for securing us. Think about our Israeli family on a daily basis. We must never forget that young Jewish boys and girls are fighting, often to the finish, to make sure that we in Canada and the rest of the world fear less those who are intent upon destroying the Jewish people.
There are many innocent people suffering, Jews and Arabs, as this war continues. There are many children dying in wars throughout the world. We are meant, as Jews, to be conscious of this and to pray, and to stand up in defence of peace and truth.
Do so and perhaps one day our hearts will be fuller and cease to break so often. Let us hope that the other side does the same.
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