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Rabbi’s Blog: Hakafot in Sderot

12/29/2023 12:01:27 PM


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Dear OZ family,

Greetings from Israel.

Yom Kippur 5733 was not observed in the usual manner of prayer and fasting in Israel. The entire country mobilized for war, and the trauma of the unprovoked attack against Israel affected every Israeli.

Simchat Torah 50 years later was also not observed in the usual manner of rejoicing and dancing, in Israel. The entire country was affected by the news that was quickly spreading of a massive terrorist invasion in the South of Israel.

The trauma of this unprovoked attack affects every Israeli today, 83 days later.

There is no “Tashlumim” (make-up) for fasting on Yom Kippur, but this past week, the Hesder Yeshiva that sits in the heart of Sderot had make-up morning Hakafot  for Simchat Torah, that they never had this year. Sderot is committed to building back better than ever, and the joy they demonstrated at the “Hakafot” was inspiring.

The Gemara relates that the year that Shlomo completed the Temple In Jerusalem, they celebrated on Yom Kippur, and set aside the regular conventions of denial. May we soon merit the privilege of God’s graces,  and see perfect peace. And if a time ever comes for Yom Kippur to be observed in a different manner than what we are accustomed to, may it be directed by the ingenuity of Shlomo Hamelech.

The Chesed and ingenuity of so many Israelis is amazing. I just connected to a great organization called “Mealuim”, which is a pun on the Hebrew word for the army service performed by reservists. The program is run by Tzohar, an Israeli Kashrut organization run by a very old friend of ours, and it sends food  to families that have a parent on reserve duty(miluim).

Have a peaceful and restful Shabbat.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz

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