Once again, Jewish people in Israel are under terrorist attack. Innocent men, women and children have been killed, and many more have been injured across the country. Some of the victims were visiting the Western Wall to pray; some were driving their kids; others were simply heading off to work. One child was riding his bicycle.
In this critical time, we all ask:
What can I do for Israel? How can I help my brothers and sisters in the Holy Land?
Obviously, Israel’s government, army and police are striving to do all in their power to protect the nation’s citizens. But there is much we can do as well, no matter how distant we are geographically.
The Torah teaches us (and history has repeatedly demonstrated to us) that the physical protection of each one of us — and, indeed, our very collective destiny! — is intrinsically connected to our spiritual activism.
When we pray or dedicate a good deed to our brothers and sisters in Israel, we create a spiritual defense shield for them that will help them through difficult and dangerous times.
In that vein, we’ve gathered some of the directives that the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of righteous memory, shared with the Jewish people worldwide during similar events; positive action we can each take for Israel and its people.
1. Take Up a “Call to Arms”
What it is: Before the outbreak of the 1967 war, the Rebbe prompted a literal “call to arms” to encourage Jewish males to don the holy heart-and-mind connectors known as tefillin, whose spiritual potency is foretold in the Talmud to help instill fear and deterrence in the enemy.
What to do: Help every Jewish man and boy over the age of 13 to put on tefillin today, and every weekday.
Links: Want to learn how to put on tefillin? Check out this tutorial. Don't have tefillin or seek the personal touch? Contact your local Chabad rabbi or visit a trusted Judaica source. (There a couple to choose from here. too.) Watch the Rebbe explain the power of tefillin.
2. Share the Power of Light
What it is: While this is a once-a-week mitzvah, its power lasts for an entire seven days. Lighting Shabbat and holiday candles ushers light and peace into the home and the world.
What to do: Encourage every Jewish woman and girl to light Shabbat candles every Friday before the onset of Shabbat and on the eve of Jewish holidays.
Links: Learn how to light Shabbat candles, find out what time the candles should be lit, read stories and discover the power of bringing more light into the world. Watch the Rebbe discuss the redemptive power of Shabbat candles.
3. Check Your (Spiritual) Security System
What it is: Called the “guard” of the Jewish home and the guardian of the Jewish people throughout the ages, the mezuzah is a parchment scroll containing sacred portions of the Torah that is hung on the right side of the doorpost to a Jewish home. They are also affixed on most doorposts within the home.
What to do: Do you have mezuzahs on and in your home? This is a good time have them checked to make sure they are still in tiptop shape. (It is best to check your mezuzahs annually, and at least twice every seven years.) If you don’t have mezuzahs, or are missing on some doors, now is the time to get up to snuff.
Links: Learn all about mezuzahs, how to affix them, and how and why to check them. Watch the Rebbe discuss the protective power of mezuzah.
What it is: The power of prayer. Our ability to reach the gates of heaven and plead with the Almighty to make things better.
What to do: Dedicate a daily prayer for our brethren in Israel. Psalms are especially appropriate for times like this. But feel free to go off-script and speak to G‑d directly in your own words, too. While praying, keep in mind those who were injured in the attacks, in addition to all of Israel. The prayer of children is considered to be particularly potent.
Links: Psalms. (Chapter 20 has a special significance at times such as these.) A list of victims of recent terror attacks can be found here. Watch the Rebbe discuss the potency of children's prayer in a time like this.
5. Be Financially Supportive
What it is: Give charity! The protective strength of charity is considered to be particularly strong. Consider in part also an Israel-based charity.
What to do: Chabad's Terror Victims Project and Colel Chabad are two of the many worthy organizations doing this holy work. Watch the Rebbe discuss the special protective power of charity for Israel.
6. Nurture Your Faith
What it is: What kept us going for thousands of years. Amid all crises, the faith and knowledge that G‑d is with us and protects us.
What you can do: Reach into yourself to find your innate faith. Learn about it. Speak to your family and friends about it. Gather them around your dining room table at home or the water cooler at work, and speak about our faith in G‑d and His bond with every one of us. Engender confident trust that He will guard us, and especially in His holy land.
Reach out to friends and family in Israel, or even to strangers on Facebook. Tell them that you are one with them, about the mitzvahs you’re doing in their honor, and that you are sure that they will prevail.
Links: This year — known as a Hakhel year — is especially appropriate for such gatherings of Torah, unity, and faith. Watch the Rebbe explain the immediate relevance of Hakhel to our times, and watch the Rebbe explaining the strategic importance of faith.
7. Join the Unity Torah Scroll
What it is: The Torah is the common denominator that unites all Jewish people. Special Torah scrolls are being written in Israel, in which every single Jewish person may purchase a letter to become part of the Torah and unite together. Besides for fulfilling (at least in part) the Biblical commandment to write a Torah scroll, having a letter in these scrolls connects you and Jewish people all over the globe, in Israel and the diaspora, into one Torah-created unified entity.
What you can do: Purchase letters for yourself and your family members, and encourage others to do the same.
Links: For children, fill out this form to purchase letters (for a symbolic $1) in the special Torah for all Jewish children under bar- or bat-mitzvah age. To purchase letters for Jews of all ages in a general unity Torah, click here. Watch the Rebbe discuss the unifying power of purchasing a letter in the Torah.
Spread the Message!
What it is: If one deed is powerful, many deeds have an even greater impact.
What to do: Forward this information to your friends. Post it on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media. Print this list and hang it in your workplace.
Links: This year is a special year for Jewish get-togethers; read more about it here.
Let us pray together for our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.