Last year my teenage son was studying in a yeshiva in Israel. At one point, he called me midweek, and asked me how I would feel about him spending a Shabbat in Sderot.

Like most overprotective Jewish mothers, I adamantly refused, cautioning him about the danger. For added emphasis, I sprinkled in some Jewish guilt by telling him how worried I would be throughout Shabbat should he decide to go.

"That's just what I figured," my son's words put me at ease. But then with typical teenage brash impetuousness, he continued, "That's why I went this past Shabbat. I didn't tell you so that you wouldn't worry!" He then continued to describe his experience and how harrowing it was to have rockets fired during the Shabbat meal.

I've since thought about my discussion with my son. It is a normal reaction for any mother to wish to protect her child and keep him out of harm's way.

It is also a commendable reaction of a daring, yet empathetic teenager to want to spend Shabbat with fellow Jews who are undergoing trying times to demonstrate that he cares, feels their hardship and is one with them.

Of course, my son explained all those reasons to me. But still, as a mother, I wanted to protect my son. True, they, the people of Sderot, consisting of lots of other sons and daughters, were suffering. And true, I felt sorry for what they were enduring. But I still wanted my child out of harm's way.

As the war rages in Gaza, the danger faced by the Sderot community is eclipsed by what our soldiers now face on the battle ground. But the war has made me reconsider my initial reaction to my son—and, in general, our knee-jerk reaction to our fellow Jews, in any time of danger or need.

The very land that Israel evacuated only 3 short years ago, that was meant to lead to an enduring peace with the Palestinians, has become the launching ground for missiles and rockets against cites even further within Israel's interior. In a tragic twist of irony, many of the former Gush Katif expellees, who were so cruelly forced from the comfort of their homes and the lives that they spent such effort building, are now returning to these very grounds—as part of the Israeli troops, with the aim of fighting the very network and infrastructure of terror that has replaced their once thriving greenhouses.

Yet at the time of the evacuation, was there not somewhat of a sense of it being them, "the settlers," who needed to leave for the sake of presumed peace? Was there not a feeling of justifying their sacrifice for the sake of the greater whole, i.e. the rest of us?

But were the houses in Neve Dekalim any less of a home for their families than those in Tel Aviv or Rechovot?

When the communities in Sderot had rockets landing on them several times daily, for the last eight years, wreaking havoc on their businesses and bringing terror and emotional trauma that scarred countless lives, wasn't there this quiet acceptance of what was happening "over there"?

But is a peaceful Shabbat meal in Ashkelon or Beer Sheva more valuable than one in Sderot?

Or more recently, just a few weeks ago, when we heard of the "settlers" in Hebron being evicted from the Peace House that they legally purchased, wasn't there this resigned acceptance that Hebron—and its "radicals"—are just "problematic"?

Tongues are clucked and heads are sometimes nodded in sympathy, but is there perhaps a reticence, a feeling of it happening to another community, far removed from me and therefore somehow not nearly as relevant or tragic or pressing? And consequently, do these issues get reported on the back pages of our newspapers—if at all—because somehow in our minds it just doesn't relate to us?

To emerge fully victorious from this war—and to prevent it from recurring—I believe that we need to stop thinking in terms of us and them.

My teenaged son who spent that Shabbat in Sderot recently said to me, "Ma, I can understand the war being brought closer to the hearts of our Toronto community because we have two local boys serving in this ground assault. But the emphasis in our extra prayers and good deeds shouldn't be for the safety of our boys. All the soldiers are equally our own."

On a personal level, we each need to stop looking at the parts of the Jewish people as sects, or groups, or nationalities, or labels, with issues only really bothering us when it affects our circles. Wouldn't our responses be stronger and more concentrated if we all felt that we are all in this together? That we are truly one people, one body, thoroughly connected?

And nationally, we need to stop looking at our land as disjointed "pieces," with some parts closer to our heart and more precious to us than others. The land of Israel, like the people of Israel, is one organic whole. Every single inch, just like every single individual, is holy and precious.

Like the limbs of a body, we are all intricately connected in our fate.

Foremost in our minds and hearts must be the obvious recognition that body and soul, the people and the land, each inch and each member is one complete, organic whole that is precious to us all.

That is a winning message that will help us emerge victorious from this war—and prevent future ones from following.