While still fighting with his unit deep in Gaza, David,* the commanding officer of my son’s unit, decided that he would organize an evening for the soldiers and their wives/girlfriends after they were all discharged. Two weeks ago, the soldiers and their wives were treated to a beautiful event that took place at the scenic Tel Aviv Port.

Someone came to Hillel and asked him to teach him the Torah while standing on one foot. In my weekly class, Rebbetzin Dina Schoonmaker quoted the Chasam Sofer, who explained what the man meant by his question. The man was asking what would keep him stable when he stood on just one foot. What is the remedy when there are fluctuations in life and things are difficult? Hillel told the man that whatever you hate, you shouldn’t do to others. Strengthening the mitzvos “bein adam l’chaveiro,” between man and his fellow man, will stabilize you. We are living in difficult times. But we see many examples of people thinking past their own needs and looking to help others.

On October 9, 1994, Nachshon Wachsman, a corporal in the IDF, was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists and held hostage for six days. The Wachsman family asked that Jews say T’hilim for the safe return of Nachshon. In addition, Esther Wachsman, Nachshon’s mother, asked that women light an extra candle for Nachshon when they lit Shabbos candles that week. Thousands of women lit candles for the first time on that fateful Friday night. Jews all over the world were united in their wish to save Nachshon. We were one.

Behind the men of the Israel Defense Forces stands a powerful force with which to reckon: mothers of chayalim. The mothers are known as lionesses, as are the wives of chayalim who are holding down the Home Front. They support their children and advocate on their behalf. They’ve got their backs. Imahot HaLochamim, The Mothers of Combat Soldiers Foundation, was formed in 2014 during Operation Protective Edge, after which the mothers moved into the background and returned to action during the current war.

The safety of our chayalim is uppermost in our minds. This is always the case, but especially on a day like today when we woke up to the horrific news that 24 chayalim had been killed in combat. Each a world of his own. Each an unfathomable loss. We daven daily, multiple times, that they should return home safe and sound, in mind, body, and spirit.

Chagai Luber, a religious settler, is the father of Yehonatan Luber Hy”d, who was killed when fighting in Gaza, and the uncle of Hillel and Yagel Yaniv, who were brutally murdered in a shooting attack in Huwara. Last week, Chagai met with members of Achim LaNeshek, a left-wing group of IDF reservists who protested against judicial reform. The meeting went well and made headway in its goal to foster national unity. After two hours of productive conversation, Chagai told everyone that he must leave. It was time to daven, and he had to say Kaddish for his son.