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Parshat - Behar-Behukotai

Friday, 11 May, 2018 - 12:32 pm

Israel needs our help.  If someone told you that you have the ability to do something that will enhance the security of our brothers and sisters in Israel, what would you say?  I believe that you would jump at the opportunity.  What if I told you that it can take as little as a couple of minutes?  How much more so!  And what if I told you that it will cost you nothing, you don’t have to travel, and if you don’t know how to do it there is someone nearby willing and eager to help you?  How could anyone refuse such an offer!  The only catch is that it takes a little faith.  Not faith in some new idea that someone has come up with, but faith in a 3,300-year-old tradition that has been part of our core belief through all the generations. 

So what is this little thing that I can do to help the beleaguered people of Israel who are facing fire raining down from the sky, G-d forbid? The Talmud quotes the verse (Devarim 28:10): “[They] will see that the name of Hashem is… upon you and they will fear you,” and adds (Berachot 6a): “These are the Tefillin that go on the head.” We have always recognized that in addition to our need to take steps to protect ourselves, like strengthening the heroic forces of the IDF, we have the spiritual protection of Hashem who has sworn to not allow the Jewish people to be destroyed. This is what we say in the Haggadah ion the well-known song “Vehi She’amda,” that this promise has stood by us through all the generations of persecution and attempts to wipe us out.  

So while our prayers and best wishes go out to the people of Israel, and especially the soldiers who risk their lives to protect the people and the land, we can each do something about it. It takes two minutes to put on Tefillin. If you have them at home, please try to do it as often as possible. If you don’t have Tefillin or don’t know how to do it, please contact me or any Chabad rabbi and we will be happy to help you with it. This is a way to make a real difference.

While Tefillin is a Mitzvah specifically for men, there is a special Mitzvah for women too that brings Hashem’s protection to our people and that is the Mitzvah of Shabbat candles. Our sages have taught that when a woman lights the Shabbat candles (at the right time, before sunset), the holy light brings peace to the home. Since what each of us does impacts the entire Jewish people, this peace extends beyond the individual home to encompass all of our people, including those in Israel.

There was once, in a Russian town, a serious threat to the Jewish people. The community met to discuss what to do about it. One of the people said: We can’t just rely on miracles, we have to do something practical, so let’s pray. To us, the power of a Mitzvah is not just a mystical idea, but is something practical that we have recognized through the ages as truly bringing us blessings and protection. So let’s all do something. Do a Mitzvah and pray to Hashem that He protect all our people and help overcome the enemies today, just as He helped us overcome the ancient Persian tyrant Haman.

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