Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Shluchim, Simcha and Israeli Soldiers

 We will recount a story which has just taken place from which we see that when a Jew walks with his Judaism with determination, he has nothing to fear; to the contrary, not one was harmed. Information of this story has just reached us from the Holy-Land. 

Before the festival of Purim a convoy of Chabad Shluchim went out to soldiers stationed in Shechem who have the merit to protect Jews living in the Holy Land. Lately, there had been disturbances, so they were accompanied by a driver and several soldiers. As they approached the town, they saw from a distance a barricade of wood and rocks blocking the road which had been set up by Arabs who were antagonistic to Jews and soldiers reaching Shechem and its surrounding area. Those travelling in the car realized that this was not just a blockade of rocks but there were people there – Arabs. When the driver saw this he thought: ‘why should I endanger lives and undertake the responsibility of the emissaries bringing gifts of festive food to the soldiers? Let them do this another time rather than put themselves in danger by breaching the barrier and provoking the Arabs standing nearby!’ 

However, the shluchim stated with simple faith that they have a mission to encourage and bring joy to Jewish people on the festival of Purim, telling the soldiers [the story of Megillas Esther] that ‘the Jews had light, joy, happiness and dignity’, this, now also, not just in one location, but in one hundred and twenty seven countries throughout the world. We have to disregard the barricade of wood, stones and earth, even if there are Arabs there; they have no freedom of choice (to harm us). Certainly, the shluchim argued, when one does an act of good to bring joy to Jewish people, no bad will befall us. 

They convinced the driver and the soldiers accompanying them that they have nothing to fear, rather they should continue travelling forward. And lo, they broke through the barricade! The Arabs began throwing rocks and the soldiers were forced to fire at the Arabs to shock them. Actually no one was harmed neither Jew nor Arab. The shluchim reached the soldiers and burst into a joyous Chassidic gathering as befitting Purim, and later returned to the Holy City of Jerusalem healthy and well. 

Chabad shluchim dancing with Israeli soldiers
As we said, this story took place this Purim for us to take as a role model and instruction: "disregard obstacles and difficulties both from still life – rocks, wood, and human". A Jew is on a G-dly mission to bring joy to another Jew and to himself with the joy of a Mitzva, of Purim, together with the light of Torah, and the dignity of Tefillin. 

They put on Tefillin with all the soldiers and there was real light, joy, happiness and dignity. This was successful precisely because they went with the power of Torah, fearless. All barriers became null and void. 

Now with this determined power, the dread of the Jewish People will once again fall upon them. G-d assures us: ‘I will give peace unto the land’. Shalom – peace, also from the grammatical root, shleimus– complete - the Complete Land, together with all the Jewish People intact who are bound up with the Complete Torah. And this is how we will bring about the Complete Land to include Shechem, Hebron, and Jerusalem. 

                                                                                                            Public talk Purim 1976

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