24 July 2006, 13:36
Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar’s address to the Jews in Russia concerning the Lebanon-Israeli war
Our people, our brothers in Israel are experiencing hard times. International terrorism takes the Jews as hostages, crushes thousands of missiles on the Jewish cities and towns and bombards them. Dozens of civilians had lost their lives, hundreds are wounded. Each of us should ask himself a question of what he can and must do to help our brothers and sisters.
People of the same faith with us in Israel have been forced many times to fight wars to protect the Jewish state from destruction, and the people from elimination. The Israel army of defence is a powerful force. Yet, force is not enough to defeat the enemy, - the blessing from heavens is needed. All Jewish people, each one of us, should take effort to ask God for his blessing. As the Rambam teaches, this is the lesson of any challenges which God makes us face.
We are now between the two dates that make us to recall the tragic days of our history: 17 of tamuz, the day of the Siege of Jerusalem, and 9 of aba, the day of the Destruction of the Temple. The wise man of our nation teach that the reason of this calamity that had fallen upon the Jews two thousand years ago was hatred and quarrels within our nation. Therefore, the first thing that we ought to do is to consolidate for the sake of defending Israel. No differences of political, public or personal nature should prevent us from common actions for the sake of achieving the single goal.
An important testimony to the unity of our nation is tzedakah - help to the needy. As tzedakah shows the Most High that his children are friends and take care for one another, He will take care for us and help us.
‘We should all pray for the security of our brothers and sisters, who are under fire, and especially for the Israeli soldiers, and primarily, for the three soldiers captured by the terrorists: Gilad, the son of Aviva Shalit, Eldad, the son of Toba Regev, and Ehud, the son of Malka Goldwasser. May God grant that they return to their families alive and in good health. In such cases Psalm 20 is usually read (to be found in sidur Tegilat Ashem, p.71), as well as Psalms 22, 69, 105 and 150.
An important law to be especially observed during these hard days is wearing teffilin. The Torah (Dvarim 28.10) says, ‘And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee.’ As our wise men teach, ‘the name of the Lord’ in this context means teffilin. If you have it, put it on for daily prayer, if you do not have one, go to a synagogue to pray for our brethren, and you will be surely helped to put on teffilin.
Another important law is having mezuzah on your doorpost to protect your home from any evil. If you do not have a mezuzah, consult a synagogue or your rabbi. If you have already got a mezuzah, please help other Jews, give them one too and get sure it is applied according to the tradition.
All these - tzedakah, prayer, teffilin and mezuzah - may be done by everyone either on one’s own or together with the closest friends and family. Also, I urge all Jews to go to their synagogues on Tuesday evening to attend the mincha prayer for the life and well-being of our brothers in Israel and for their deliverance from the threats of the terrorists. The upcoming Tuesday is a ‘small Yom Kippur,’ the day before the new moon, when prayer will be particularly effective. I ask all rabbis and heads of communities to do their best to ensure that as many Jews as possible participate in this prayer. I also ask to organize children’s prayers wherever possible, as the Most High is particularly attentive to children’s pure voices.
I am confident that with God’s help and through our ardent prayers, tzedakah and other things we do in the name of the Most High and for the sake of friendship and mutual respect among his children, we shall be delivered after all, and our enemies will be defeated.
July 23, 2006