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    The weeks pass, the war continues. The
    hostages – men, women, children, babies –
    still have not come home. Our hearts ache just
    thinking of them in the Gehinnom of Gaza.
    So many lives lost, so many injured, so many
    in pain. Parents who lost children, widows
    and orphans. We need a yeshuah.
    During the 2015 Intifada, Rav Moshe
    Shternbuch gave a message that is relevant to
    us today. He relayed that when our nation goes
    through a crisis, HaShem looks down upon us,
    to see how we, His children, react. Are we an
    Am Echad, a strong united people, there for
    our brothers and sisters? Do we feel another’s
    pain? What are we doing to ease their hardship
    in times of need.
    “Al shlosha devarim ha’olam omeid, The
    world exists on three things. Torah, avodah
    and gemilus chassodim.” (Pirkei Avos 1:2)
    In this week’s parsha we find Yitzchak and
    Rivka davening for a child. “Va’yetar Yitzchok
    l’HaShem, l’nochach ishto.” (Bereishis 25:21)
    Rashi comments that Yitzchak stood in one
    corner, Rivka in another, each one crying out

    to HaShem for the blessing for a baby. Each
    one crying on the other’s behalf.
    Davening. Avodas Halev. Labor of the heart.
    To daven for someone with all your heart and
    soul. To put your entire being into the prayer.
    When we daven for someone, we become
    connected to that person. We are saying I care
    about you. You are important to me, I am
    making time to daven for you.
    To describe Yitzchok’s tefillos, the Torah uses
    the term “va’yetar”, instead of the more
    common “va’yispallel”. Rashi teaches that
    va’yetar connotes praying in abundance.
    Praying with urgency. Powerful prayers.
    The Talmud (Yevamos 64:a) explains that the
    term “va’yetar” has the same root as the term
    “eser”, a winnowing shovel or pitchfork. Just
    as a pitchfork turns over the grain, moving it
    from place to place, so too, sincere prayer,
    prayer from the heart, has the power to
    overturn a Heavenly decree from one of
    judgment to one of mercy.
    We just began the month of Kislev. Each of
    the months has a mazel, a sign. Kislev’s is a
    bow and arrow. The bow and arrow symbolize
    the power of tefilla. The more one pulls on the
    bow, the tighter it becomes, propelling the

    arrow to travel a farther distance and with
    greater force. Similarly, the more intense our
    prayers, the greater the kavannah, our heartfelt
    sincerity, the further it travels to reach the
    Kislev is a month of prayer, a month of
    miracles. It is the month of Chanukah, when
    we recite V’al Hanissim, And for the miracles.
    Let’s take a lesson from Yitzchak and Rivka,
    the message of the month of Chanukah, to
    daven with all our might. To ask for a miracle,
    for nothing is beyond HaShem’s reach.
    The nation of Yishmael understands the power
    of prayer. Five times a day, they turn to prayer.
    They have no inhibitions about pulling out
    prayer rugs on a crowded street, or in any
    other public space. We have to counter their
    prayers by intensifying our tefilla, particularly
    during these difficult days. As we have
    witnessed, it is not only the Jews in Eretz
    Yisroel who are in peril, but Jews throughout
    the world feel threatened and insecure as a
    result of an unprecedented wave of
    antisemitism and Jew hatred. We must call out
    from the depths of our heart, add additional
    tefillos to what we usually recite, and turn to
    the words of Tehillim.
    A campaign was started to daven for
    Chayalei Yisroel, the brave soldiers of the
    IDF. The name of individual soldiers are
    given out, and one can daven for the safety
    and well-being of “their” soldier.
    It is said that the prayers of children, who
    have holy and pure neshamos, are extra
    powerful, and many yeshivos gave out the
    names of specific soldiers to their students.
    A woman in Eretz Yisroel tells of going to
    her local grocery where she spotted a young
    boy wearing a badge. Always curious, she
    asked him what it was.
    With a big, sweet smile, the boy answered,
    “That’s my soldier”.
    “Your soldier, what do you mean?”
    The boy explained. “This is the soldier I
    daven for. That he return safely to his
    mother at the end of the war. I daven for
    him. I study for him. And at night, I say
    Shema for him. He guards me from near
    Gaza, I guard him from Yerushalayim.”
    A post-script to this story. The woman was
    so impressed, that she asked the boy what
    school he attends. She then contacted the
    boy’s rebbe, and told him “Shame, I didn’t
    get to educate my child in such a special
    I shared this story with some of my
    grandchildren. A grandson who attends
    Darchei Torah got all excited and said,
    “Rebbe gave me a soldier too. He told the
    class that every mitzvah we do, every

    bracha we make, and every line of Torah we
    learn is for ‘our’ soldier.”
    Mi k’amecha Yisroel. Be it in Eretz Yisroel or
    thousands of miles away, our hearts are one.
    The war broke out on Simchas Torah. The
    Yom Tov of celebrating Torah study. The
    concluding of one book, and simultaneously
    beginning another. For one never graduates
    from Torah learning. The message is clear. We
    must continue learning. Whatever one’s level
    of Torah learning is, there are so many
    opportunities to avail oneself. Be it classes,
    books, clips, etc. So much to learn. So much
    to gain. Do it for yourself. Do it for Am
    And the third leg on which the world stands –
    gemilus chassodim. So many individuals,
    communities, organizations having done –
    and continue to do – so much. For the soldiers
    and their families, for the victims, and the
    My mother would speak about the Six-Day
    War. A miraculous victory in six days. The
    next day, the seventh day, could have been
    “Shabbos”. Unfortunately, we were blinded
    by our astounding success on the battlefield.
    HaShem gave us a second chance, the Yom
    Kippur War. Yom Kippur, referred to in the
    Torah as Shabbos Shabbosson. Once again,
    we failed to see the hand of HaShem and call
    out to Him. We are now in midst of a difficult
    war. A war than began with terrible atrocities,
    with barbarism on a level that the world has
    never seen. The Abarbanel teaches that in the
    final war before Moshiach, our enemy will be
    “achzorim me’od, exceedingly cruel”. Did we
    not witness this today – in a war that broke out
    on Shabbos? HaShem is giving us another
    This time, our nation answered the call.
    HaShem, You can look down upon us.
    Thousands upon thousands have taken upon
    themselves to keep Shabbos, put on tefillin
    and tzitzis, do more mitzvos, learn more
    Torah, do more chesed.
    HaShem, it’s time for all the pain and suffering
    to end. It’s time for the ultimate geulah to
    arrive. Let us hope it will be soon.