Thanks so much to David Perlow for contribution to today's post:
Hamas had planned its first tunnel attack in last summer's war against Israel (Operation "Protective Edge") under cover of a field of tall green wheat, which they knew wouldn't be harvested for another 8 weeks. But, a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews from Bnei Brak needed to assure themselves of a pre-Shmitta stock of wheat for next year's matza shmura, so they paid top dollar and bought the field. The wheat was harvested early, and the Hamas terrorists got a big surprise. Here's the story as told by an IDF liason officer - pass this around tp your family and friends, for it's a tremendous sanctification of Hashem's name:
Today is Memorial Day in Israel for our martyred soldiers, of sacred and blessed memory.
Image at left courtesy of Haaretz.com shows the Israeli Missile boat "Hanit" being tugged into Ashdod port after having been hit by a Hizbulla missile off the Beirut shore on July 14, 2006, during the Second Lebanon War.
17 October, 2006. A young Israeli Naval sergeant boarded the northbound train in Tel Aviv. I was on my way to a present a lecture in the Haifa area and he was returning to his base in the Haifa port. He sat down across from me, looking at me intently while I was learning my Gemara. I looked up at him, smiled, said "Shalom aleichem!"
He sighed deeply, as if relieved, and sheepishly asked, "Can I talk to you, Rav?"
"Of course," I answered, asking him how he knows that I'm a "rav". He said that he heard me eulogize one of his fallen friends during the war. The sailor had a relatively new beard, an almost new knitted kippa on his head, and the beautifully pure innocence in his eyes of a new Ba'al Tshuva. To make a long story short, he was a crewman on board the Israeli Navy ship Hanit (Hebrew for bayonet) when it was hit by a missile of shore in Beirut.
The sailor, who we'll call Moshe, began to relate the dozens of miracles that happened aboard the Hanit the night that it was hit. "It was Friday night. Usually, the crew would eat Friday night dinner in two shifts. But this time, since we were in a war zone, our three religious crewmen went to Lt. Col. A - the skipper - and begged that we all need Hashem's help. The first miracle is that the skipper agreed to leave only 4 sailors on the bridge, and allowed the whole entire crew to pray together; we piled into the chapel, and said a lengthy mincha and Kabbalat Shabbat. I was bored and wanted to eat quickly then catch a few hours sleep, because I had the midnight watch. But, I stayed with the rest of the crew. Then, all of us had a Shabbat meal together - 15 different sailors said Kiddush, each in the custom of his fathers; I'm talking about guys that aren't (weren't) even religious! The meal was drawn out - I had a headache and was dying to sleep. The religious guys started to say the grace after the meal, and BOOOFF! The missile hit, but on the opposite end of the craft. It should have sank the boat, but it hit a crane right above the chopper landing pad. What a miracle! If that's not enough, the helicopter-refueling tank - filled to the gills with chopper fuel - didn't explode despite the fact that the whole end of the boat was burned..."
At least twenty other crewmen aboard the Hanit should have been killed, but they were saved by Shabbat dinner on the other end of the ship. The four on the bridge all lost their lives.
Moshe had beads of sweat on his forehead; tears glistened in his eyes. "The newspapers don't write about the miracles that we all saw. I ran to my bunk on the deck right below the landing pad. It was charcoal; my metal bunk was completely melted down and all my possessions were ashes. If I hadn't been detained in the chapel and in the dining hall for Shabbat meal, I'd have been charcoal too. I haven't stopped thanking Hashem since - I've changed my life..."
Moshe continued with more miracles, including the engine room burnt to a crisp but a pair of tefillin was found unscathed. If that's not enough, amidst the embers of destruction, the sailors found a Book of Psalms - also unscathed - opened to Psalm 124. Read Psalm 124 and your hair will stand up!
The train was nearing my station, so I gave Moshe a blessing and a fatherly embrace, and we parted. The Hanit took a direct hit from a Hizbulla missile, but Moshe has turned the navy's setback into a victory.
Every day, I meet more and more "Moshes". Unlike many of the politicians, the Israeli on the street - especially the soldiers and the reservists - are diamonds looking to be polished, and have started to ask the real questions in life. They're looking for emuna. Were it not for the wars here, they wouldn't have bothered.
The whole purpose of the wars is to bring us closer to Hashem. Once we get close to Hashem on our own initiative, Hashem won't have to send us wars anymore, amen. I'd much prefer dancing with Moshiach to eulogizing fallen comrades.
You're probably wondering what the handsome Israeli Plover (chofami, in Hebrew) pictured above has to do with elections in Israel. I saw one in the Lachish River east of Ashdod; the feathered friend reminded me how much I love the landscape and wildlife of my beloved homeland. Yet, more than I love them, I love our people - all of them - for they're all brothers and sisters, children of our same parents. It makes no difference whether they're black or white, Yiddish speakers of born in Addis Ababa. They're the most compassionate people on earth and their souls are beautiful.
With the above in mind, the election campaign for the last several weeks has been more than painful for me. It has accented the differences between Jews here and fueled infighting, as if we aren't surrounded by tens of millions of frenzied enemies waiting to devour us. As such, election day will put a temporary end to the widespread slander celebrations. In Israel, the only way to maintain any segment of spiritual and emotional health and purity is to sever oneself from the media.
If I could, I'd vote for three parties, the ones who are loyal to our Torah. Military might is necessary in the tough neighborhood we live in, but it's useless unless we are spiritually strong. In other words, emuna is the backbone of Jewish survival, and particularly Jewish survival in our holy land of Israel, which cannot stomach profanity.
Let's all of us here perform our civic duty and vote. It only takes a minute or two. But, let's cast our permanent vote for Hashem, renewing our loyalty three times a day and every time we open up a book of Psalms, a Gemara, or walk along the shore with the Plovers and talk to Hashem. Am Yisroel Chai!
Our sages mention five special attributes about our beloved Land of Israel, as follows:
1. If a person is on a high enough spiritual level, he'll be able to see that the rocks of Eretz Yisrael glitter like diamonds (Be'er Maim Chaim - Rebbe Chaim of Chernovitz).
2. The soil of Eretz Yisrael is holier than the sky of Chutz L'aretz(lands outside of Israel) (Chasam Sopher).
3. The Gemara says (Berachos 59a) that since the destruction of the holy Temple, the sky has lost its purity; The Shatzer Rebbe ob"m (Da'as Sholom) says that the Gemara is speaking about Chutz L'aretz, and that the skies of Eretz Yisrael maintain their purity forever.
4. The world is like a funnel, where all prayers are channeled into Eretz Yisrael, and arise to the heavens from Eretz Yisrael (Aravei Nachal, Zohar).
5. Eretz Yisrael is so holy, that saying anything derogatory about it is virtually unforgivable; the slander of Eretz Yisrael lengthens the diaspora (Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a).
Rabbi Shalom Arush sends his blessings to all of you who are preparing to make aliya; to those of you who are praying to make aliya, the Rav shlit'a blesses you that your prayers will be answered.
Probably my favorite prayer place in the world is the Cave of the Machpela in Hevron, where Abraham and Sara, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah are buried. I ask our holy ancestors to beg in our behalf at the Divine Throne, that we should successfully weather the "birth-pangs" of Moshiach, and fulfillment of all the redemption prophecies. May we all see our holy forefathers soon in the flesh, with the full redemption of our people in our holy land, the ingathering of the exiles, the coming of Moshiach, the revival of the dead, and the rebuilding of our holy Beit HaMikdash, amen. More than anything, may we merit to see the revelation of Hashem's Divine Presence within our midst, amen sela.
The feeling of being in the company of the holy ancestors defies description, so I'll just show you the pictures.
Photo 1: Maarat HaMachpela, Hevron
Photo 2: Leah's gravesite
Photo 3: Abraham's gravesite
Photo 4: We found the white donkey, now all we need is Moshiach
Photo 5: Maarat HaMachpela: A little piece of every Jew's heart is always here
Moshiach must certainly be close by. Lately, I've been receiving letters about young children with high levels of spiritual receptivity. Here is one of them:
Dear Rabbi Lazer,
Is it true that a three-year old can be highly receptive on a spiritual level? We had a maid that used to listen motivational CDs with subliminal messages and my son of 3 Immanuel (Hebrew for 'Hashem is with us' -LB) told me that he listened from that maid "ugly and scary messages" and we fired her. As a result of her CDs, he was having nightmares. I bought Calming Waters and let my son listen to the peaceful flute and nice sounds; my son insists that your CD is full of beautiful messages. The Gemara says that Hashem hides secrets and prophecies with toddlers and infants. I don't mean to pry, but is my son really receptive to subtle spiritual messages? Does your CD really have spiritual messages? Thanks so much, DR from LA
Yes, your son is very receptive, indicative of his very holy and pure soul. Make sure you give him the best Torah education imaginable. And yes, all my flute music has messages, since the melodies came to me during personal prayer, when I was speaking to Hashem at many special places all over the Land of Israel countryside. They reflect a yearning for Hashem and a desire get close to Him. That's why the melodies are so soothing to the soul. May you have much joy from all your children. Blessings always, LB
You're invited to join me on a virtual tour of Israel's countryside, with my flute in the background, right here: