The nation of Israel is crying. The images are too horrific. The pain is too immense. The fear is too great. Confusion abounds. Families are missing loved ones. Scores have been kidnapped.
Right now is the time for tears, not words, not answers.
Ways to Help
What can people around the world do during this dire time as Israel prepares for a war it did not seek?
Here are a few concrete actions that all of us can take.
Unload your burden and share your tears and fears with Hashem. Pray for the missing civilians and soldiers; pray for the wounded; pray for the soldiers who are in harm’s way, serving to protect their country; pray for the families who have lost loved ones, and pray for the entire Jewish people.
There is a time-honored custom to recite Tehillim in times of distress. King David wrote stirring words that echo our situation today. Recommended are Psalms 20, 83, 121, 130, and 142.
Increase Torah Study and Mitzvot
Every mitzvah, every good deed, increases light in the world and creates a spiritual force. Commit to increasing your performance of a mitzvah with the intention of creating a merit to help protect the people of Israel – whether it is giving charity, going to a class, or committing to learning Torah for a few additional minutes every day. Your actions make a spiritual difference.
Work on Jewish Unity
The government and army were totally blindsided by this unprecedented attack. But what everyone did see leading up to this war was the unprecedented lack of unity in the country, between left and right, religious and non-religious. Many people felt that the very foundations of our country were being weakened.
What a tragedy, that it takes a war to unite us. Unity doesn’t mean unanimity, that everyone is in full agreement. It means a basic respect and understanding of the other, a genuine attempt to see the reasonableness of the other side, their humanity, and to love them as a brother and sister.
During these fateful days let’s consciously work on decreasing the arguing and vilifying, and work on fostering genuine love and respect. We can only defeat the enemy if we are united.
Publicly Support Israel
Contact your elected officials and demand that they publicly support Israel and provide all assistance necessary to the Israeli government and its civilians. Call and write your representatives to have your voice heard.
Give Financial Support
Your donation makes a real difference. Here are a couple of options to consider:
Yad Eliezer: Help support families affected by the war – www.bezri.org
United Hatzalah: Donate funds towards equipment for protective vests and helmets, oxygen tanks, defibrillators, trauma bandages, and tourniquets for first responders – www.israelrescue.org
The war in Israel affects Jews around the world. All Jews are potential targets. If you see something suspicious, say something to security personnel or police.
You can donate blood. You can donate supplies and clothing for soldiers and civilians. You can order hot meals for those in need. You can volunteer to ship supplies to Israel. Get creative!
Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith lives in Jerusalem with his wife and children. He is the chief editor of Aish.com.