Friday, 11 July, 2014 - 3:35 pm

I admit it – I am somewhat of a news junkie.

If something is going on somewhere in the world, I have an insatiable and perhaps [what my wife will call a] compulsive desire to learn about it.

Can I control or affect what is going on? Does my knowledge of what ‘talking heads’ think about events on the other side of the globe matter? Not really.

But this is different.

When our brothers and sisters are under fire in our homeland, there is a justifiable [I say] need to know. I’ve been following live blogs over the past few days, identifying with the fear of Acheinu Bnei Yisrael, our Israeli Brethren.

I’ve felt consumed with the round the clock hell of a life dictated by the uncertainty borne of our enemies hatred of us – and in fact themselves.

I find myself trying to come to grips with the complicated dilemmas of life under rocket attack: Will there be enough time to have a bath, or use the restroom before the next Code Red? Will there be enough time for me to grab my child from the crib and the toddler from the yard and still make it into the shelter? Will elderly parents living alone make it to the shelter safely? Is one’s bed or the bomb shelter a wiser place to sleep for the night?

My Uncle Moshe, a resident in quiet and serene Rehovot, told me about his horrible experience of having to rush to their local bomb shelter only to find it locked.


And then, this morning, when I – of course—rushed to the computer to find out what occurred overnight in Israel, I was confronted with the following headline: Kiev - 19 Ukraine Servicemen Killed In Rocket Attack.

A Grad missile attack – yes, one of the missiles of choice of murderous Hamas, killed 19 Ukrainian soldiers, fired from 15 kilometers away. A terrible tragedy and one that could push that conflagration closer to war, G-d forbid.

I was floored.

For the past four days, barrage after barrage of missiles have reigned on Israel. Over 1000 missiles have been fired, with the ingenious Iron Dome stopping 90% of them. This still leaves 100 lethal rockets which did land. They have caused considerable damage, but very few injuries. Baruch Hashem, with G-d’s bountiful mercy, there has been no direct fatalities – may G-d continue to protect us.

Consider, on the other hand, that one rocket volley in the Ukraine snuffed out 19 lives. If this is not miraculous, I don’t know what is.

Israel is called the Land which “the eyes of G-d A-mighty are upon, from the beginning of the year until the end of the year” [Deut. 11:12]

   "ארץ אשר עיני ה' אלוקך בה מראשית השנה ועד אחרית שנה"

May Hashem continue to shower our people with protection and blessings.

May there be true peace in Israel – a peace that can only be achieved by strength and determination. We pray for the safety of the IDF who are putting their lives on the line to protect the 6 Million Jewish lives and all the citizens of other faiths who benefit from the only true democracy in the Middle East.

May Hashem bless the leaders of Israel with the wisdom to protect its citizens, and may we recognize the clear miracles that G-d is bestowing upon us.

And here’s the bottom line. While my watching the news is probably a complete waste of quality time and has no impact, there is no question that every Mitzva that we do in honor of Israel—certainly makes a world of difference.

With the valiant efforts and self-sacrifice of the IDF, coupled with G-d’s continued blessings, in addition to the Mitzvot done is Israel’s honor -- we will certainly be reading good news – whether I check the latest headlines or not.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yisroel Hecht

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