Stories Of Greatness

Altered Facts

The Cities of Refuge are where one goes if he killed another by accident and he is protected there from...

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The famed B’nei Yisas’char, Rav Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov zt”l, used to say: “Why don’t we make a blessing before we give tz’dakah, the way we make blessings on everything else? Because, had we been commanded to make such a brachah, the poor person could have very well starved to death by the time we finished making our blessing! If the baal ha’bayis is a chasid, he would first have to go to the mikvah, then he would have to recite a lengthy l’sheim yichud. If he was a Litvak, he would undoubtedly learn up the sugya in order to do the mitzvah mehadrin min ha’mehadrin! By the time he got through all the preliminaries, the poor fellow would most probably have dropped dead!”

One of the greatest desires of the holy Baal Shem Tov zt”l was to emigrate to the Land of Israel and transplant there the chasidic way of life that he founded. Unfortunately, he was never able to realize this dream, due to Divine prevention. But years later, a worthy group of his talmidim did accomplish what the master was unable to do.

A relatively recent phenomenon is the increase of Orthodox officers and soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces. This phenomenon extends through the ranks of the IDF, where increasing numbers of religious officers can now be found. Some come from religious backgrounds, while others find religious observance once they’ve enlisted in the Israeli army. One such soldier arrived from a totally secular home, from a remote kibbutz where organized religious observance was unheard of. In fact, it was ridiculed and looked upon as backward and not in line with modern day values. The young soldier joined the IDF and, once there, he saw the Yad Hashem in ways he had never previously known, and it made quite an impression on him. He began to study and learn and even found a chavrusa, a study partner, who could teach him about Torah and mitzvos. Indeed, from week to week, his appetite for Yiddishkeit grew and he found himself seeing Judaism in a new light.

When asked about her most meaningful accomplishment, Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady” of British politics, did not typically mention serving in the British government, defeating the Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands, taming runaway inflation, or toppling the Soviet Union. The woman who reshaped British politics and served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990 often said that her greatest single accomplishment was helping save a young Jewish Austrian girl from the Nazis.

Wednesday, 28 Iyar – June 8, 1967 – was the third day of the Six-Day War, and it was the first time that residents of Jerusalem felt that the Yad Hashem was guiding the Jewish Nation to victory. Many people ventured outside and saw jeeps filled with smiling soldiers traveling toward Har HaTzofim (Mt. Scopus). The peak of joy came at dusk when the news came that the Kosel HaMaaravi, the Western Wall, had been liberated. People poured out of their shelters. The streets teemed with celebrating and emotion-laden people. The first ones to merit reaching the Kosel brought back small stones, which were passed from hand to hand. Their joy was indescribable: What a miracle Hashem had wrought for His beloved people!

First put into service in 2011, Israel’s Iron Dome air defense missile system is designed to stop short-range rockets and artillery like those fired from Gaza. It relies on a system of radar and analysis to determine whether an incoming rocket is a threat, firing an interceptor only if the incoming rocket risks hitting a populated area or important infrastructure. The interceptors are designed to detonate the incoming rocket in the air, producing the explosions in the sky that have come to accompany warning sirens during numerous recent Israeli-Palestinian conflicts.