An Ocean of Tears

Again and again, the collective heart of the Jewish people is being pierced with devastating news from Eretz Yisrael.

As Jews throughout the world mark the Three Weeks period of mourning over the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, they shed tears and grieve over the Israeli soldiers being killed by Hamas terrorists.

As Hamas willfully uses its civilians — including women and children — as human shields, demonstrating an inconceivable level of callous cruelty toward its own people, Israeli soldiers put their lives on the line in their hishtadlus to stop the barrage of rockets aimed at civilians.

It is Hamas, and Hamas alone, who is responsible for the tragic loss of civilian life in Gaza. Using residential neighborhoods as staging grounds for terror attacks, they are the ones who have the blood of their own people on their hands.

The pristine window of Torah-true hashkafah is the polar opposite of our enemy’s perspective, l’havdil. For the terrorists, a human life has no value; for us, every life is the equivalent of an entire world.

The tragic events unfolding in Gaza over the past days heartbreakingly illuminate why the Israeli military was so reluctant to launch a ground operation. Anyone willing to see now knows just how dangerous, cunning and relentless an enemy Hamas is.

Some predicted that a massive show of Israeli force on the ground would quickly subdue Hamas, and Israeli soldiers would be able to clean out the terror tunnels with relative ease, but the snake repeatedly struck back.

Hamas transports terrorists in U.N. ambulances and unconscionably stores missiles under hospital buildings and kindergartens. Yet, for most of the Western world, and especially in much of the mainstream media coverage, the Palestinians are presented as the victims and the IDF as the aggressors.

Olam hafuch ra’isi — the world we see in the mirror of the media is an upside-down and twisted one. The reflection is distorted beyond recognition.

As the terrible reality in Israel sets in, shattered families of the fallen soldiers mourn their terrible loss, and Klal Yisrael weeps along with them, as do our ancestors in Shamayim.

It is related that after the Ruzhiner Rebbe, zy”a, was niftar, his son Harav Avraham Yaakov of Sadigura served as sandak at a bris. The mohel was a grandson of Harav Moshe Leib of Sassov, zy”a. During the seudas mitzvah, the mohel turned to the Sadigura Rebbe and inquired, “Did we not hear from your father that he will not rest in Gan Eden until the Geulah comes?”

The Sadigura Rebbe did not reply. Moments later the mohel dozed off; in a dream, he saw the Ruzhiner Rebbe standing knee-deep in a great river. The mohel asked, “What is this river?” The Ruzhiner Rebbe responded, “This is the river of the tears of Yidden crying over their plight. I will not leave until I have brought the Geulah … ”

In the nearly 200 years since the holy Ruzhiner’s petirah, this river of tears has swelled into a mighty ocean.

It is our sacred obligation everywhere to intensify our tefillos and increase our study of Torah and acts of chessed as a zechus for acheinu bnei Yisrael in general, and for the Jewish soldiers fighting Hamas in particular.

Ultimately, their fate lies not in the strength of their armor, the sophistication of their weaponry, the reliability of their intelligence or the wisdom of their planning. Their fate — like that of all of Creation — lies solely in the Hands of our Creator.

As Dovid Hamelech stated in a perek of Tehillim that we recite each weekday morning, “Some come with chariots, some with horses, but we in the Name of Hashem … we call out.”

May we soon merit the day when Hashem will eliminate death forever and erase the tears from all faces, wiping off the shame of His nation from the entire earth. (Yeshayah 25:8)