As soon as word spread early Monday morning that Israeli hostages Louis Har, 70, and Fernando Simon Marman, 60, were rescued from the second floor of a building in the center of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, so did accounts of recent commitments made by their family members to observe the mitzvahs of lighting Shabbat candles and wearing tefillin daily in their merit.

The men were kidnapped from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on Oct. 7, when terrorists from Gaza murdered 1,200 people, wounded thousands and took 253 hostage in a murderous rampage near the Gaza border. Marman and Har were taken captive along with Marman’s sisters Clara Marman, 62, and Gabriela Leimberg, 59; and Gabriela’s daughter, Miriam Leimberg, 17. They were visiting Har at the kibbutz for the Simchat Torah holiday weekend. The five were hiding in their sealed room during the attack before they were taken hostage. The women were freed as part of an earlier hostage release.

In late November, many of Har and Marman’s family members were part of a group of 170 family members of Israeli hostages who flew to New York to visit and pray at the Ohel, the resting place of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. During the trip, Har’s daughters—Karin, Rinat and Natalie—were hosted by and struck up a lasting friendship with Rabbi Zalman and Chanie Wolowik, co-directors of Chabad of the Five Towns.

When the Wolowiks were part of a solidarity mission to Israel a month later, they hosted many hostage family members at their hotel for Shabbat, and Gabriella Lemberg lit Shabbat candles for the first time in her life, in the merit of her brother and Har.

Last week, with their loved ones still in captivity a number of family members visited the Ohel, bearing with them prayers and well-wishes for those in captivity.

Later in the week, some of the relatives traveled to Florida for Shabbat. During a weekly class given by Chana Lipskar—co-founder of The Shul of Bal Harbour, together with her husband, Rabbi Sholom B. Lipskar—Har’s daughter Natalie accepted Lipskar’s suggestion that in her father’s merit she take upon herself the mitzvah to light Shabbat candles. Her husband also agreed to Lipskar’s suggestion that he commit to putting on tefillin.

When Lipskar asked Har in what other ways the community could help, “Surprisingly, with great emotion, she asked if we could give her a set of tefillin,” wrote Lipskar, “so that when her father was released, he would already have the tefillin ready to put them on daily.”

On Wednesday morning in Israel, the two men were discharged from the hospital and are again with their families.

A list of names of the hostages in Gaza and Psalms to say for their welfare and safe return can be found here.