How tragic, that last Shabbat, Shemini Atzeret, a Holy Day that is termed “the season of our joy,” we were awakened to learn the shocking news of a major terrorist attack. Hamas, the terrorist organization controlling Gaza, had breached the security fence, and launched a full-scale massacre of Israelis in the neighboring region in Israeli territory.
Not only were we horrified to read of the enormous toll in lives taken, we were also shocked to read how civilians, including women and young children were taken as hostages, some of them carried over the border back into Gaza.
The attack was merciless and caught the Israeli Defense Forces off guard. Many are comparing it to the “Yom Kippur War,” which took place 50 years earlier, almost to the day.
As the reports come rolling in, our hearts and thoughts go out to the families affected by these tragic events. It’s difficult to imagine the suffering of families who have lost their loved ones. Many of them are uncertain at this point of their whereabouts and some who know that members of their family have been kidnapped have to suffer wondering what has become of them, where they many be, how their captors are treating them, and whether Israel will be able to rescue them.
At this point Israel has mounted a major operation in response. We all realize that the further cost in lives is inevitable. At the same time, I rest in the hope that they will be successful in defending the land and gaining control of the situation. We can hope that our people will be be granted success in their mission.
I also take hope in the general outpouring of sympathy in support of the government and citizens of Israel. The thoughtless cruelty and criminal nature of the Hamas operation, no matter how sad the situation of the Palestinians living in Gaza, cannot justify the recent events. It is reassuring to know that for once, in a great while, the world is recognizing that Hamas is indeed terrorist in nature. Their actions made it clear just how much they justify their hatred of Israel and their lack of any desire to promote the path of Peace.
Finally, in looking back at the outcome of the Yom Kippur War, I note that after Israel was able to gain victory, it was followed by Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem and a break-through in establishing diplomatic relations between Israel and Egypt, and subsequently a number of other Arab countries.
May I hold out the hope, that what has started with such cruelty and carnage, will eventually help all people realize the horror of these events and further open up paths that might lead to peace and prosperity for all those who have a stake in the land promised to our ancestors.
WE PLAN TO GATHER WEDNESDAY EVENING 6:30 P.M. IN OUR SANCTUARY TO EXPRESS OUR PROFOUND SADNESS AND SHOW SOLIDARITY FOR ALL THOSE AFFECTED BY THESE TRAGIC EVENTS. WE WILL HAVE SECURITY ON SITE AND IT WILL BE ON ZOOM, AS WELL.
Rabbi, Congregation Beth Ami.