Shabbat Parashat Bemidbar Standing with Israel

Dear Friends,

This morning I wrote on my Facebook page:

“Standing with Israel. Praying for peace. Determined to help. Bolstered by hope. Shabbat Shalom.”

This sums up quite well the question of “where I am” right now.

Upon reflection, I realized that we are Standing with Israel in more ways than one!

First of all….We are confronting the situation in which Israel is forced to take drastic military action to defend the people who live within her borders from an unprecedented and ongoing barrage of rockets, while, at the same time, dealing with a disturbing rise of internal unrest within Israel’s borders. But, do not despair. There are also many people, Jews and Arabs, within the State of Israel, who are brave enough to gather together, under banners saying: “We refuse to be enemies.” And, in addition: There is a “silent majority” in Israel, Jews and Arabs, who are praying for peace and for the continued flourishing of peaceful coexistence. What can we do? How can we help? I will get back to this question a bit later…

Secondly…We are about to celebrate Shabbat, our holy weekly day of rest, along with all our Jewish brothers and sisters around the world. Celebrating Shabbat is another form of Standing with Israel.

And, finally…On Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday, we will be celebrating Shavuot, the pilgrim festival that marks not only the completion of the counting of the Omer, but also the moment in which we all stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and received the Torah. Celebrating Shavuot is yet another way in which we are both re-enacting and re-living the moment in which we stood together, as a people, and received Torah on Mount Sinai. We are, once again, Standing with Israel – connecting with God; connecting with our sacred heritage; connecting with our history; and connecting with one another.

We are, as I said earlier, Standing with Israel in more ways than one.

I also asked earlier: What can we do?

And my response is: We can continue to actively Stand with Israel in more ways than one! We can celebrate Shabbat. We can celebrate Shavuot. We can recommit ourselves to living lives inspired by our Torah and our Jewish values. And, we help Israel, now, in several ways:

We can pray for the peace of Jerusalem and of Israel. As we read in Psalm 122:

“Pray for the well-being of Jerusalem: May those who love you be at peace. May there be well-being within your ramparts, peace in your citadels.”

We can speak out in support of Israel’s right to exist and to defend herself.

We can donate, through our local UJCVP website, to support Operation Guardian of the Walls, Standing with Israel, and have your donations support emergency grants to victims and their families, psychological counseling and support for first responders.

If you Stand with Israel, if you Pray for Peace, if you are Determined to Help, and if you are Bolstered by Hope, then….There is so much good that can be done even by us, even at a distance!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Happy Shavuot and look forward to seeing you this evening at our Friday night Zoom service and then at our Monday morning Zoom service for Shavuot (including Yizkor).

In the meantime, as we pray for peace, I wish you and your loved ones a….

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror