Over the years, in the days leading up to Tisha B’Av, it’s become somewhat of an Our Shiputzim tradition* to discuss a different “antidote to the meraglim (the Spies)” – i.e. yet another wonderful aspect of life in our beautiful Land.
This year, this post practically wrote itself.
Because as our Sages famously taught, the Second Beit HaMikdash was destroyed due to sinat chinam (generally translated as “gratuitous hatred”), and thus, the ultimate antidote to the meraglim is the unprecedented sense of unity that has gripped every sector of Israeli society over the past 7.5 weeks.
We are united in our belief that Tzuk Eitan is a just, necessary, and unavoidable war, and in our knowledge that the IDF is the most moral, ethical, and humane army in the entire world.
We are united in our prayers and support for the brave soldiers and officers of the IDF, who not only risk and sacrifice their own lives to save ours, but who are also – both literally and figuratively - our sons, our daughters, our husbands, our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, and our dear friends.
We are united in our concern for our beleaguered brothers and sisters in the South, who have spent the last 14 years (!!) living under enemy fire.
We are united in our bewilderment and anger toward those – including many of our self-professed "best friends EVER” – who consistently condemn us for imaginary atrocities while turning a blind eye toward our savage enemies, who cruelly target our civilians while deliberately endangering their own (i.e. a double war crime).
We are united in our outpouring of love for our wounded; in our grief and sorrow over the loss of so many of our best and brightest; and in our condolences to the bereaved families.
And most of all - as I wrote in my previous post - we are united in our awe and gratitude to HaKadosh Baruch Hu and His countless dedicated emissaries for all the goodness that He has bestowed and continues to bestow upon us.
That long list of emissaries includes the three special families: the Yifrachs, the Sha’ars, and the Fraenkels. Their nobility and strength inspired us, and their holy sons HY”D saved us – both physically and spiritually.
In fact, they can be compared to modern-day Esthers and Mordechais. They took a nation that was “מפוזר ומפורד” (“scattered and dispersed” - Esther 3:8) and brought everyone together on the path to salvation. (Esther commands Mordechai, “לך כנוס את כל היהודים” – “Go, assemble all the Jews.” - Esther 4:16)
For instance, a chareidi acquaintance told us that in his [exclusively chareidi] community, people couldn’t stop talking about the three families and their extraordinary emunah (faith). “My neighbors used to think that they had a lock on emunah,” he observed. “But now they all say that they’ve never seen anything even approaching emunah like this!”
Interestingly, the prime minister’s wife used the same word in reference to the wounded IDF soldiers and their families. The TV cameras caught Mrs. Netanyahu in the middle of a long day of visiting different hospitals, and she said that she was amazed at the soldiers’ emunah and their desire to return to their units to finish their missions.
Consider also the following:
MK and Minister Silvan Shalom reported that when a siren interrupted a trade fair held at Tel Aviv’s port to boost southern Israel’s small businesses, thousands of Israelis spontaneously began singing, “Am Yisrael Chai!” (“The nation of Israel lives!”)
On one of the first few days of the ground incursion, a reporter interviewed a mother visiting her wounded son. “I am not religious at all,” she insisted. “But now it’s the period of Bein HaMetzarim [i.e. the Three Weeks], and that means that it’s time for Am Yisrael to come together and to focus on that which unites us.”
Channel 2 recently ran a segment on women whose husbands are serving in the reserves. When asked how she copes (she hasn’t seen her husband in weeks), a very secular-looking mother of several young children replied that her belief in God gets her through the day. “I speak to Him all the time,” she explained. “I speak to Him like a daughter speaks to her Father.”
An Israeli neighbor stopped by the other day. After comparing notes about our respective soldier sons, we started talking about the incredible achdut (unity) that we have been experiencing.
“It means that the Geulah (the Redemption) is finally on the way,” she declared. “It’s so close we can almost taste it!”
And so, I turn to you, our beloved family and friends in the Diaspora.
Please join us here in Israel, and come experience this achdut for yourself. Am Yisrael needs you here in Eretz Yisrael, and you need to become part of העם היושב בציון (the Nation that dwells in Tzion).
May we indeed be soon privileged to experience the Geulah, and may our eyes behold Hashem’s return to Tzion with mercy, speedily and in our days. Amen.
יה”ר שיבנה בית המקדש במהרה בימינו, אמן.
Have an easy and meaningful fast.
* Previous “antidote to the meraglim” posts include:
The annual Yemei Iyun B’Tanach in Gush Etzion
Shabbat in an Israeli maternity ward
A front row seat on our nation’s history
A country that revolves around the Jewish calendar
Rubbing shoulders with the country's movers and shakers