12 Kislev 5781 / Saturday, November 28, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
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Missiles and Miracles    

Missiles and Miracles

Here's an on-the-spot report of the missile attacks on the South of Israel from Gaza (2011) and the many miracles that his besieged hometown Ashdod has seen…


All I can say is, “You’re awesome, Hashem!”

It’s one thing to read in the newspapers about rocket attacks. It’s an entirely different story to experience the rocket attacks: the up-and-down wail of the red-alert sirens, the thirty seconds you have to take cover, the thumping of your heart while you’re waiting for the rocket to fall, the thud of impact and the subsequent explosion. Thank G-d for emuna.

It’s one thing to be under attack when you’re a soldier in the army, armed to the gills and together with your buddies, all of you highly trained combatants. It’s an entirely different story to experience the rocket attacks with your little grandchildren on your lap. Little Nachman, a year old, hears the screech of the siren. He looks up at Zaidie (Yiddish for grandfather) to see if there’s anything to worry about. Zaidie smiles back and says, “Hashem is making big booms.” Little Nachman is satisfied with that answer – he thinks it’s a game. In the south of Israel, emuna isn’t a living-room word; it’s something that a child must grow up with to remain emotionally healthy.


Luckily, we have here in Ashdod several thousand witnesses to the miracles that have been unfolding since the missile attacks began on Friday morning. Two Ashdodians – Gerrer Chassidim – are still fighting for their lives (image above, courtesy of ynetnews.com) and eight others are recovering from their wounds. But, the situation could have been so much worse.

There’s a Gerrer shtiebel (small synagogue) on Rebbe Tarphon Street in Ashdod’s Rova Zayin (7th Quarter). About ten minutes after the morning prayers were completed and more than half of the worshipers had left, a GRAD missile came crashing through the roof. Now hear this – it did not explode! I shudder to think what would have happened had the missile fallen ten minutes earlier and had exploded as well…

A block a way, at the Gerrer “Lev Simcha” yeshiva (image above, courtesy of ynetnews.com), an earlier missile fell in the courtyard seriously injuring two and wounding eight more. Once again, had the missile fallen inside the yeshiva building a few meters away, the casualties would have been much worse.
Earlier today, at 5:45 AM, a GRAD missile crashed about 600 meters from my home near the south-east end of town. It landed near a shack and injured three people, illegal Palestinian workers who were unauthorized to be in our area.
Certainly, we've also had painful casualties. Right before Shabbat was over, a GRAD missile made a direct hit on a house in Beersheva, killing one person and wounding 6 others. Ofakim has also been under attack, and two babies have been injured.
This is all in addition to last Thursday’s multi-pronged terror attacks that triggered the current hostilities and left eight dead and wounded more than forty.

Yet the miracles keep happening. A devastating GRAD missile scored a direct hit on a kindergarten in Beersheva shortly after 9 AM this morning. The building - devastated - was empty, for the children are on vacation.
We all know how the hostilities started; nobody knows how they will end.

There’s a call all over the south of Israel to donate blood. That’s vital to save lives now, and we were happy to answer the call. But there's something much bigger we need to do.

 Rabbi Lazer donating blood in Ashdod before Shabbat

I asked my beloved Rabbi and teacher, Rav Shalom Arush, what should be done. He could barely answer, so choked up with emotion and with trepidation for the future of our people, sitting on a powder keg that could blow sky high any minute. “It’s either war or emuna, GRAD missiles or CDs! Tell that to everyone in my name…”


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