A special message for the Jewish community from the Chief Rabbi
I have just listened to one of the most inspirational radio interviews I have ever heard.
Rav Doron Perez, head of world Mizrachi was being interviewed. And when the interviewer commenced, he said, “I don’t know how to say this, but I want to say Mazal Tov, and to also extend our commiserations at the same time.” Why was that the case? Well, you see, last night Rav Doron and his wife, Shelley celebrated the wedding of their son Yonatan to Galya.
On Shemini Atzeret, Yonatan was in the south of Israel, together with his fellow soldiers. They were fighting with every bit of strength and courage they had, against dozens of terrorists. Yonatan was saving the lives of his fellow Jews. But, after good while he himself was injured, and doctors say it was a miracle that he was able to survive.
And yesterday was Yonatan’s wedding, a wonderful Simcha, but – and this is a big but – Yonatan’s brother Daniel is missing. Like Yonatan, he is also a soldier in the south of Israel. His tank was attacked. One of his fellow soldiers was found dead in the tank, the other three are missing. The Perez family do not know where he is right now.
So, can you imagine, a wedding of one son and the worry about another? And in this interview Rav Doron gave a most incredible new Perush, a new commentary, to a passage in Ecclesiastes Kohelet chapter three, where King Solomon famously says, ‘Lakkol zeman ve’et lechol-chefetz’ – ‘There is a time and a season for everything’. ‘Et livkot ve’et lischok’ – ‘there is a time to weep and a time to rejoice’. Rav Doron said, sometimes the two times coincide with each other. At one and the same moment, you are weeping, and you are rejoicing. And that’s what the Perez family experienced yesterday. But then Rav Doron went on to explain, how with his deep rooted emunah, his faith in Hashem, he and his family know that Am Yisrael will prevail, and this war will end with a great success.
In parshat Noach, which we read this week, we have the very first Baruch Hashem on record. It was Noach who explained, Baruch Hashem ‘Elokei shem’, ‘blessed is the Lord’. And you know, there is so much about which we can say Baruch Hashem right now. At a time of existential threat, Baruch Hashem, we have Medinat Yisrael. Baruch Hashem, we have a strong army. Baruch Hashem, we have notable global leaders and their governments supporting us. Baruch Hashem, we are blessed with the unity of the Jewish people at this time. But, at the same time, we are weeping, we are crying, we are concerned. Let us take a lead from the Perez family, who so inspirationally are telling us yes, we’re grieving, we’re crying, we’re concerned. But, at the same time, let’s also focus on the positive, because the Jewish people will prevail. Am Yisrael Chai. The Jewish people will continue to live on, and the reason for this is ‘Od Avinu Chai’ ‘Our Father in heaven is looking after us and will protect us.’
Please Daven for Daniel Shimon Ben Sharon, together with all the others who are missing, all those who have been taken hostage, all those who have been injured. May peace come speedily to the people of Israel. Oseh shalom bimromav, Hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu v’al kol Yisrael v’imru Amen.