Just in case anyone was wondering what time of the year it was. Each month has its own mazal, its own special properties and forces which surround it, and the 3 Weeks, which started this past Tuesday (17th of Tammuz) and ends with the climatic Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) is the time where sad things happen more often. Although this year, the 3 Weeks came several weeks early with the kidnapping and murder of the 3 boys in Israel, and continues with the continued firing of missiles into Israel. My list of names to daven (pray) for has more than doubled this past week, and I am talking about people that I personally know. Last night I had to actually write down all the names so I would not forget any of them. I know that I am slowly getting older, but I am not that old so as to say “this is life.”
Israel had its first casualty from the missile attacks this week. Dror Chanin was volutneering and delivering food, chocolate and happiness to the IDF soldiers when he was hit and killed. A beautiful boy looked at me and comment, “I thought Hashem protected you when doing a mitzvah.” A person learns from his rabbi, learns more from his chavrusah (learning partner,) but a person learns the most from his students. I did not really have an answer for him and told him so. My boys sure keep me on my toes! However, I did bring out some of their learning in Makkos where the Gemara talks about different people who were learning Torah and their time in this world was up, however, the Malach haMais (Angel of Death) was unable to take their neshama for they were learning Torah. The malach had to create a diversion so that for a split second the person was distracted from learning and the malach could do its job.
I have a friend in Israel who was woken up at 2 am last night from a siren. Despite everything, her posting this morning helped put things into perspective:
“Good morning world! It was a quiet night after the 2:15 am siren. In Israel we are celebrating – not death and destruction, but the reality that God is protecting us day and night with miraculous technology created here in Israel, as well as a stellar military. My heart is split, I cry for the victims of war in Gaza, yet I am high on the knowledge that God is showing his presence in our life as he has during every hardship… Remember wherever you are, God loves you too!! “
When I read that, it put a smile on my face. She is correct. We do not know why things happen, but everything He does is good. Even when things are tough, He is kind. Despite all the missiles that have come into Israel (I am not sure the exact number, but I believe it is nearing 2000), Baruch Hashem we have only had one casualty. Though even one casualty is one too many. We learn that every single person is special and life is to be valued.
We Jews seem to do best when under pressure. Despite everything going on, there has been a lot of unity among all Jews. I read somewhere in the past few days (sorry, I forget where,) if sinas chinum (baseless hatred) destroyed the Bais Hamikdash, then imagine what baseless love can do.
It is hard to know how one can help. Sometimes (often times?) one can feel small and insignificant, but there is something that can be done. Baseless love. I have been encouraging my boys (as well as myself,) to open their eyes and see others more. Do you see anyone who needs any helping hands, are you talking to your brother in a nicer way, and let us go say some tehillim. It is hard for them for they are still young (will I ever stop thinking of them as young?) and are still at the point in life where they think only about themselves, but I am hoping that each time they do do something it is making a difference.
Last night I asked my almost-5-year-old to bring me an orange. I got small ones, they are only about 2 inches in diameter. He came into the room and had even peeled it for me, and as he was finishing peeling he asked, “It’s a big orange Mom, can I share it with you?” I turned to look at him and the small peeled orange and for no other reason than the fact that at that moment I was able to feel for someone else and know that at that moment, to share my orange (that all of a sudden seemed so big) with him meant so much to him that I said, “Of course!”
May we all have baseless love for one another and thus merit the final redemption.