"With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance? " --Jay Leno
A few hours after the ceasefire was declared on Sunday, a surprise Grad missile landed in Ashdod, in a beautiful residential area near Ashdod's southern riviera. This was the last Grad missile of the current war, and it was accompanied by a major miracle.
During the dozens of missile attacks here, the Red Alert siren system worked impeccably, giving us 35-45 seconds to run for cover. This time, the Red Alert system failed to activate the sirens.
On the street where the missile fell, there is an above-ground concrete edifice where passersby would take cover whenever the siren went off. Since there was no siren this time, nobody took cover there. The missile landed right there in a direct hit, smashing the concrete edifice and spraying deadly shrapnel all over the place, injuring one woman. Hashem only knows the catastrophe that was avoided by the fact that the sirens didn't function and no one was taking cover where the missile fell in a devastating direct hit.
Hashem is yelling at us to return to Him. By the way, there's still no rain in Israel...
Apropo miracles, ten days ago, we told the story about the old lady in Black that the father of an infantry soldier in Gaza told me. Former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, may Hashem bless him with long and healthy days, confirms the story.
To be worthy of the Holy Land of Emuna, we must strengthen our emuna.
One of the magnificent aspects of virtually everyone I saw in the south of Israel during the war was the calm and courage of people under fire and constant threat. Those who remained in the south during the war, refusing to allow the Hamas missiles to expel them northward, emerged stronger and with reinforced emuna, for every missile that fell was accompanied with its own miracle.
The South of Israel is even developing its own local humor. Here's a taste:
During the Gaza War two weeks ago, a Northerner from Haifa walks into the Emergency Ward at the local hospital and says to the nurse at the reception window, "I need urgent treatment - I 'm suffering from shock!"
The nurse asks for his ID card, and when she sees that he's a local, she says, "What do you mean, 'suffering from shock?' You're not a southerner!"
"Yeh," says the man, "but my mother-in-law just came here from Ashdod, and she brought a suitcase full of Passover dishes..."
Emuna lets us smile all the time, missiles or not.
Here is a bittersweet taste of my beloved hometown of Ashdod:
Two weeks ago, Irit Shitrit, age 39 and mother of 4, was killed by a Hamas-fired Grad missile from Gaza when she got out of her car to try and take cover in the bus stop pictured above, a few minutes walk from my home. Our City Maintenance Department cleaned and repaired the bus stop, but they haven't been able to wipe away the stains of Irit's blood, which can still be seen in the concrete.
King Solomon said (Proverbs 10:2), "Charity saves lives." There is one change in the bus stop; our community activists have put up a charity box for the benefit of the city's poor. This is Ashdod's way of fighting evil.
I was assigned the name of a soldier so I could personally pray for him. I just found out that he has been seriously wounded, but it least his life isn't in danger. I feel terrible, as if I didn't do my job. If I would have prayed better, maybe he wouldn't have been wounded. I feel eaten up with guilt. Please help me. RS from Israel
The Yetzer Hara (evil inclination) is telling you all this garbage. Without your prayers, the soldier might have been killed. Your prayers probably saved his life. The Yetzer is a worse liar than the Hamas, and he tells good people like you that you are the villain when the exact opposite is true. Your prayers have been a beautiful expression of care for another human and for our people Israel with no expectation of reward in return. You have every reason to feel good about yourself for you have done a pure and lofty mitzva. Hashem is proud of you and so are we. Blessings always, LB