Today we have not heard from Amo. It is now Shabbat in Israel, our prayers are with you and your team. Be safe.

The following is the text of the weekly Torah email sent out by Rabbi Yossy Gordon from Chabad on Campus:


My friend Amo is a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces. I know him for many years and have seen him grow up into a man who understands how to meet a challenge head on.

Last week, I got a call telling me that Amo was heading into battle in Gaza. I picked up the phone and dialed his number. He answered. He was in his tent trying to rest. His unit was poised to strike and he was going to be in the first wave. As part of the elite Golani Brigade, he knew he was going to face danger and, as he put it, "There is going to a lot of noise."

We spoke for about ten minutes. We reviewed a Chassidic discourse that we had studied together some time ago that discusses two distinct approaches to teshuvah (repentance). One approach involves dealing with individual shortcomings similar to the way a doctor will treat a symptom. The other is to experience a transformation causing the shortcomings to no longer exist at the new higher level of being. As the Rebbe described the transforming Jew when he was reciting the discourse, "the challenges are no longer a concern because it is not him anymore, it is a new person."

My soldier friend told me how he is filled with faith and trust in the protection of the Almighty and that he knows that he isn't fighting for any strategic initiative. He is fighting to save Jewish lives. I realized that he had already been transformed into a Jewish soldier with an uncompromising zeal to fulfill his mission successfully and filled with absolute faith and trust in the protection of the Almighty.

When we saw each other not too long ago, I lent him a buck and made him promise to return it to me when he completed his tour in the IDF. Now I try to be frugal, but I certainly could afford to give someone a dollar. Let me share with you this dollar's uniqueness.

From the mid-eighties till mid 1992, the Rebbe would stand outside his office on Sundays for hours on end. People would pass by and receive a dollar and a blessing from him. Usually, the Rebbe's eyes would meet the recipient's for a moment, and as he would give the dollar the Rebbe would say, "Blessings and success!"

The dollar was a means of the Rebbe encouraging his visitors to perform the mitzvah of tzedakah (charity) and a conduit for his blessing. The custom was to save the actual dollar from the Rebbe and give its value to tzedakah, using other funds.

I have a collection of dollars that I received from the Rebbe. I always keep one in my wallet. We know that every interaction with the Rebbe continues to be a source of blessings. How much more so when the interaction involves the Rebbe giving a physical object of value and an actual verbal blessing! All that holiness and blessing is in that dollar.

I lent a dollar from the Rebbe to Amo because I wanted to give him the special protection for him and his comrades that comes with it. He took it, looked me in the eye and promised to return it—and I know he will.

Go, Amo, go!

Friends, please say a special prayer and make every effort to increase in acts of kindness and goodness and adherence to our holy Torah as a means of influencing the Almighty to protect Avraham Meir ben Leah Naomi and all of the brave soldiers of the IDF. May He grant them a speedy and safe victory. "The Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps!"

Personal Note: I struggled with the decision of whether to write this for many hours. For some reason, I am uncomfortable sharing this personal aspect of a dear friendship that I enjoy with this truly inspiring young man. If those who read will be inspired to do something good, then the decision will have certainly been made correctly.

May G‑d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May He protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom!! L'Chaim!!! Chazak!!!!

Rabbi Yossy Gordon,
Executive Vice-President
Chabad on Campus International Foundation