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Day 62— Israel in Crisis



Tonight begins a very strange Hanukkah… and tonight, the prayer we will pray on the first night of Hanukkah will not be just rote liturgy, but genuine Thanksgiving in the light of those who want to destroy us.


Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.


Exactly two months ago today, on October 7, life in Israel changed forever. We were humbled and broken. We were humiliated and defeated. There are no words to describe the sense of shock and horror that continued to build throughout the day as more news came out.


At first, we thought, this seems like a bit more rocket fire than usual… Then we heard that there were terrorists inside the country… But surely, it could only be a dozen or so.


When the dust settled, the numbers were staggering. It was an event that we never could’ve imagined.

  • 1200 of our men, women, and children had been brutally murdered.

  • 246 had been dragged violently back into Gaza.

  • Dozens of sexual crimes were committed against our daughters.

  • And we found out that it wasn’t a couple of dozen terrorists, but some 3000.


If that wasn’t painful enough, we were shocked at the response from most of the world. We thought, indeed the world will now understand what we are dealing with here in the Middle East. They’ll see that this has nothing to do with a land dispute but an Islamo-fascist, Iran-backed attempt to destroy the Jewish Homeland.


But they didn’t support us. In fact, in many places, they rejoiced. In Sydney, Australia, a group of Muslims gathered while the attacks were still unfolding and began to rejoice, shouting, “Gas the Jews.” A Cornell University professor said that he was exhilarated and excited at the actions of Hamas, at the same time expressing that he doesn’t condone violence. I’m still trying to figure that one out. George Washington University projected on the wall of one of its buildings, “Glory to our Martyrs,” and “Free Palestine from the River to the Sea,” which is not a call for a Palestinian state in Gaza, or the West Bank, but for the destruction of Israel as a nation.


But many stood with us. The US government has been unbelievable, and Israel feels it. We were visited by leaders from Great Britain, France, and other nations who stood in solidarity with the Jewish people. But in all those cities of Europe, there have been massive demonstrations, primarily from Muslim immigrants that they graciously invited into their country when they were refugees in other places.


A dividing line has been drawn in the sand. Do you side with savages or freedom? Israel represents liberty and democracy, while Hamas represents death, destruction, and oppression.


Shehecheyanu

Tonight begins Hanukkah, the Feast of Dedication, also known as the Festival of Lights. And yet, we still have hostages underground in Gaza. The festive atmosphere will be muted this year, but of course, we will still observe. On the first night of Hanukkah, we pray an extraordinary prayer called the Shehecheyanu. It is a prayer that no other nation has because no other nation has had to stop and check and make sure they were still an identifiable people group as often as the Jewish people have. Including October 7, we have experienced 53 attempted genocides. The Shehecheyanu thanks God for keeping us alive all throughout history until this day.


Below is a video of Israeli soldiers in Gaza praying the Shehecheyanu and lighting the first Hanukkah candle together.



HEBREW TEXT

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ, מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה.


TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higiyanu laz'man hazeh.


TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.



Ron and Elana






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