Tuesday, Jun 11, 2024

My Take on the News

 

Hezbollah Hits an Important Base

Israel has been at war in the south for three months, and now is facing an escalation in the north. The winds of war are blowing, and the situation is getting worse. After the assassination of Saleh al-Arouri, a senior Hamas official, in the heart of Beirut, there was growing concern that the tensions with Hezbollah would heat up. Indeed, after the targeted killing of al-Arouri, Hezbollah announced that it would respond with severity. On Shabbos, the Shiite terror group fired ten rockets into Israeli territory, some of which struck the air force base on Mount Meron, which has been dubbed “the eyes of the country.” This base is responsible for air traffic control throughout Israel’s air space; its instruments detect hostile penetrations, activate the various weapons systems, and direct Israeli aircraft and drones to intercept enemy targets. Rumor has it that Hezbollah has developed new long-range missiles of which the IDF was not aware, and that Israel hasn’t built defenses against those missiles. This makes for a very frightening situation!

Hezbollah later released a video showing the damage to the air force base, with an Arabic narration that explains, “The Meron interception and air traffic control base is eight kilometers from the Lebanese border. It is situated at an elevation of 1200 meters above sea level and spans 160,000 square meters.” The video adds that the base is “the command center for air traffic in northern Israel, whose function is organizing, coordinating, and managing aerial operations in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and the northern part of the Eastern Mediterranean … a main center of disruption of electronic signals in the north … and [a base where] many soldiers and officers are stationed.” They also claimed that the Meron base contains “short- and long-range radar systems and digital communications systems.” All of this information appeared in the Israeli press, although the writers repeatedly framed it as Hezbollah’s allegations, which enables them to circumvent the requirement of oversight by the Israeli censor. That is also the reason that the Israeli media often attributes its reports on various events to “foreign sources.”

The Hezbollah terror group announced in the morning that the rocket barrage targeting communities on its border was an “initial response” to the elimination of Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut. The IDF responded by attacking Lebanon, including a strike on a Hezbollah base from which land-to-air missiles were launched. Hezbollah announced six deaths among its ranks, increasing its total death toll since the outbreak of the war to 153. The IDF reported, “Israeli air force jets attacked two military compounds of the Hezbollah terror organization. The compounds were significant assets for the organization, including a military installation used by Hezbollah for land-to-air missiles. In addition, fighter jets, aerial drones, and other IDF forces attacked a series of Hezbollah targets in the areas of Rab El Thalathine, Ramyah, Meiss el-Jabal, and Ayta ash-Shab in southern Lebanon. The targets that were attacked include terror infrastructure, a terrorist cell, rocket launch sites, and an operational command center.”

Striving to Avert War in North

If a genuine war begins in the north, it will create tremendous complications. Some of the residents of the north called on the government this week to strike back forcefully against Hezbollah, but the general assessment is that Israel’s political and defense establishments still prefer to focus on the war in Gaza rather than allowing another front to open.

Israel is not interested in an explosion of hostilities in the north. In fact, it is very unclear if the army is prepared for that eventuality right now. An expert said this week, “A war in the north will require advance preparation, in terms of our ability to rehabilitate the army after the fighting in Gaza and to restore its capabilities. I hope that this problem will be resolved during the first half of 2024, no later than the summer. Israel will be waiting to see whether Hezbollah crossed a red line, and Israel intends to act in accordance with the nature of their response.” In other words, if Hezbollah leaves Israel no other choice, the country will be dragged into a war.

It is believed that the Lebanese are very fearful of the prospect of a full-fledged war, since the entire country expects to suffer serious losses in such a scenario. Masses of residents of southern Lebanon have left their homes, fearing a harsh response from Israel, and have traveled to the area of Beirut and the center of the country. The leader of the Maronite Christian community in Lebanon expressed concern at the beginning of the week about the possibility of an escalation, obliquely criticizing Hezbollah with the comment, “The war in Gaza has spread to southern Lebanon, against the wishes of the Lebanese.”

America and Europe are becoming involved. Officials from both continents have been trying to promote understandings between the countries that will make it possible to prevent a full-scale war. American envoy Amos Hochstein held a round of meetings with the leaders of Israel’s defense establishment, including the prime minister, and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is due to arrive by the time this newspaper goes to print. At the same time, a delegation from the European Union led by Josep Borrell visited Beirut in an effort to advance understandings there as well. Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese parliament, declared at the end of their meeting that Beirut is interested in “stopping the aggression” and preventing a war.

Blinken has a single purpose in visiting Israel this week: to prevent a war in the north. The Washington Post recently reported that senior officials in the American government are concerned that Prime Minister Netanyahu might try to actively promote an escalation in the north in a bid for his own political survival. Netanyahu has been harshly criticized for the government’s handling of the war in Gaza and the failures of October 7, and a successful campaign against Lebanon might restore the public’s faith in him. However, the Israelis consider this theory to be nothing short of slander. Benny Gantz responded to the American newspaper, “The situation in which the residents of the north cannot return to their homes requires an urgent solution. The world must remember that this escalation was begun by Hezbollah. Israel is interested in a diplomatic solution. If that doesn’t happen, then the State of Israel and the IDF will remove the threat. All the members of the war cabinet share this position. The only factor under consideration is Israel’s security. Every country has the same duty to its citizens.”

Three Missing Persons Confirmed as Hostages

In addition to Hochstein and Blinken, there were other visitors who came to Israel and deserve to be mentioned. Senator Lindsey Graham and former Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Israel last week, and the latter was deeply moved on Shabbos when he visited a group of families who had been evacuated from their homes in the Gaza envelope.

There is much more to discuss as well. For one thing, there are the polls that are constantly being held to assess the political situation in this country. This is a very strange phenomenon, since the results are constantly shifting, sometimes in a dramatic and extreme fashion. Some polls show the Likud suffering a major defeat in the upcoming election, while others suggest that it will be evenly matched with Benny Gantz’s National Unity Party. There are various ways to account for the disparity between the results, but that discussion will wait for another time.

In another interesting story, the IDF decided to launch an investigation into the events of October 7. The investigative team will include Shaul Mofaz, a former chief of staff and defense minister; General Aharon Zeevi Farkash, who grew up in a chareidi home and is a former head of the Military Intelligence Directorate; and Sami Turgeman, the former commander of the IDF Northern Command. Two of these three men have already spoken out harshly against Prime Minister Netanyahu, which might lead us to suspect that one aspect of the outcome of the probe is already a foregone conclusion. On the other hand, the army insists that it isn’t yet beginning the major investigation that everyone is talking about, and that this is merely a routine internal inquiry held in response to any important incident.

On another note, the army reported that three people who were classified as missing since October 7 have been determined to have been abducted. This lowers the death toll and increases the number of hostages in Hamas captivity. This, too, is worthy of a separate article.

Finally, another major story broke when Aharon Barak was tapped by the state to represent Israel in the Hague. This was a very interesting development, but space constraints prevent me from elaborating on it here. Perhaps I will deal with it at greater length next week.

Murder on Route 465

Even as the war in Gaza continues and tensions rise in the north, terrorists are still going about their murderous business in Israel as well. We are living in the shadow of terror. At the beginning of the week, there was a terror attack on Route 465 in the Binyomin region. In this case, the victim was an Arab resident of Beit Chanina.

Route 465 is a major highway in the center of the country that passes through the area of Yehuda and the Shomron. The highway begins at the Givat Koach junction, crosses the Green Line at the Rantis checkpoint, and ends at the British Police junction, where it meets Route 60 between Shiloh and Ofra. To give you a more concrete idea of the location, I will tell you that when a motorist leaves Modiin Illit, Waze will direct him to take Route 465. It is within the area of the Binyomin Regional Council and is considered part of the center of the country.

A car that was presumably used by the terrorists was abandoned near the scene of the attack after its occupants fled. Soldiers and police arrived at the scene and began an investigation; their assessment showed that there had been more than one terrorist. When the initial findings indicated that it was a terror attack, a manhunt was launched.

The first report of the shooting was received by MDA at 7:27 on Sunday morning. Yisroel Ganz, the head of the Binyomin Regional Council (who has been interviewed for Yated Neeman in the past), came to the site of the attack and announced to the media, “This an attack with very severe results. Terror is pursuing us everywhere, and we need to crush it everywhere. We must be aggressive in the face of terror, and we need to begin broad operations here in the Ramallah area as well, and in all of Yehuda and Shomron.”

Mounting Concern in Yehuda and Shomron

This terror attack took place mere hours after the murder of Shai Garmai, a Border Guard policewoman who was killed in Jenin. Security officials see this as a sign of mounting violence in Yehuda and Shomron—the scenario that was feared by the intelligence community after the wave of Palestinian prisoners released in exchange for the hostages in Gaza. Hamas is widely admired among the Arabs of Yehuda and Shomron, and there have been calls within the Arab populace to carry out terror attacks and increase tensions in the area. Hamas is also exploiting the fact that most of the Palestinian workers have not been able to return to their jobs in Israel, which makes them more easily provoked to violence.

Here are a few details about the policewoman’s death, which occurred on motzoei Shabbos. Shai Garmai was killed and three other police officers were wounded during an operation in the Jenin refugee camp; the Palestinians reported that six terrorists were killed by Israeli air strikes at that time. Garmai was killed while traveling in a vehicle that was hit by an explosive device during an operation in the refugee camp. A joint statement released on Sunday morning by the IDF and the police reported that the soldiers and Border Guard officers were involved in counterterror operations in Jenin when the vehicle struck an explosive that had been hidden on the road, causing injuries to three officers and killing another. The three were taken to Rambam Hospital for treatment.

The IDF enters the Jenin refugee camp twice a week. In this incident, there were a series of attacks on the Israeli forces. The soldiers first encountered gunfire at 12:40 a.m., which resulted in no injuries. Twenty-six minutes later, the first group of explosives were set off. At 1:12, the terrorists opened fire on the convoy of Border Guard officers, who returned fire without suffering casualties. At 1:23, a Border Guard jeep drove over another bomb; the jeep overturned, injuring the three officers and causing the death of the fourth. The air force immediately launched a rescue operation, covering for the ground forces with helicopters and drones. At 1:33 the gunfire was renewed, targeting the Israeli forces who were tending to the wounded. At 2:27, the first helicopter took off for Rambam Hospital, carrying some of the wounded officers. Two minutes later, another helicopter lifted off with the remaining victims aboard.

Meanwhile, there was yet another terror attack on Sunday evening, at the Bidu junction north of Yerushalayim. A male and female terrorist in the car were killed by IDF soldiers, and a young Palestinian girl, unfortunately, was killed as well.

The Supreme Courts Unreasonable Verdict

A few words on the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the reasonability standard are in order.

To put the matter in perspective, let me reiterate the basic story. About half a year after the Knesset passed a law barring the court from using the standard of reasonability to override government or ministerial decisions, the judges of the Supreme Court issued their own ruling on the subject. The verdict, which spans 743 pages, essentially resurrects the reasonability rule, stating that the court has the authority to conduct judicial review as they see fit. The ruling was passed by a narrow majority of eight judges with the other seven dissenting. The judges remarked that the Knesset is not all-powerful and does not have the authority, even through a Basic Law, to directly contradict or override the core characteristics of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

The court’s ruling infuriated many people in the country, for several reasons. First of all, it set a major precedent. Until now, it was presumed that there was a tacit agreement between the Knesset and the court, as the legislative and judicial branches of the government, that even if the Supreme Court is empowered to override laws passed by the Knesset, that authority does not apply to Basic Laws. The law that abolished the reasonability standard was deliberately enacted as a Basic Law to render it immune to judicial review. By ruling that the measure could be stuck down, the Supreme Court dealt another blow to the Knesset by asserting its authority over the legislative body, making this the latest volley in the ongoing feud between the two branches of the government.

Another reason this verdict evoked fury was the fact that it was publicized in the middle of a war. The Supreme Court, on other occasions, has struck down government appointments made during wartime, arguing that one does not switch proverbial horses or make important decisions during a war. Yet the court apparently had no problem permitting itself to issue a momentous verdict at such a time, even though it denies that right to others.

Another grievance against the court, which is even more substantial, is the fact that the panel of judges who issued the verdict includes Esther Chayut, the chief justice, and Anat Baron, both of whom retired within days of the ruling’s release. Since the verdict was made by a majority of eight judges, with the other seven dissenting, this means that the decision would have been the opposite if they had waited only a few more days for the two judges to retire. Without Chayut and Baron on the panel, the law would have been upheld by a majority vote of seven to six rather than being scrapped by the court.

There is one more point to be made, as well: One of the reasons that the judges gave for disqualifying the law was the fact that it was passed in the Knesset by a narrow majority of 63 votes. This argument rings hollow, however, when one takes into consideration that the judges passed their own verdict by the slimmest of majorities: only a single vote. I won’t bother quoting the prodigious criticism of the judges’ actions, but I will tell you that they were widely denounced.

Another Verdict: Incapacitation Law Delayed Until Next Knesset

A few days later, the court struck another blow at the government. The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the Incapacitation Law, which was enacted by the current Knesset, will not take effect until the next Knesset is installed. The majority of the justices opined that the law had been passed for personal reasons and that its implementation should therefore be delayed. Once again, this verdict was passed by a slim majority; six justices supported delaying the law, while five were in favor of allowing it to take effect immediately.

What is the Incapacitation Law? About ten months ago, the Knesset approved a new Basic Law by a majority of 61 to 47. This law stipulates that a prime minister can be declared incapacitated, and therefore unable to continue holding office, only if he is physically or mentally unfit to remain in his position. Such a decision would have to be made by the prime minister himself, who must send an official notification to the government and the Knesset speaker, and it must be approved by a vote of two thirds of the members of the Knesset House Committee. The law also provides an option for the cabinet to decide, by a vote of three quarters of its members, to declare the prime minister temporarily incapacitated due to a mental or physical handicap. The law requires the prime minister to convene the cabinet for this purpose within three days of receiving a request approved by three fifths of its members, or at a later date if the cabinet sets its own time frame. If the cabinet is not convened within three days, the cabinet secretary will convene it immediately and the session will be chaired by the prime minister’s replacement. In this case, the government’s decision will remain in effect for three days until it is brought before the Knesset House Committee, where it can be ratified by a majority vote of two thirds of the committee’s members. If the government’s decision is made for health reasons, then the House Committee will be required to receive a professional medical opinion. The committee will be authorized to determine that the period of incapacitation will be no longer than seven days from the time the government makes its decision. The law also stipulates that if the prime minister does not submit a medical opinion in his favor that conforms with the committee’s guidelines, it will be considered a tacit declaration that he is indeed incapacitated.

The purpose of this law was to prevent the attorney general, who is antagonistic to Prime Minister Netanyahu, from ruling that the prime minister is unfit to continue serving due to the criminal charges against him. In fact, she has already threatened several times to invoke this power to declare him unfit to serve. The law was passed in response to those threats, but the Supreme Court has now decided to delay its implementation.

The Judges Claim Superiority

The Supreme Court, with its supreme hubris, decided to cancel a Basic Law passed by the Knesset. There is plenty of confusion about this situation; I read a newspaper report that stated that the court struck down the reasonability standard, which is not accurate. The court actually struck down the law that canceled the reasonability standard. In simple terms, the Supreme Court has a long history of overturning laws or government appointments that it considers “unreasonable.” (In some cases, the court has condemned those decisions as “unreasonable in the extreme.”) The Knesset responded by passing a law preventing the judges from using that argument to overturn a law. In response, the judges ruled that this very law is itself unreasonable (as well as unconstitutional, meaning that it violates the Basic Laws) and that it must be overturned. The crux of this controversy is the question of who should be considered the arbiter of reasonability, a question on which the judges refused to accept the Knesset’s position. The justices of the Supreme Court insist that they must be the ones to determine what is considered reasonable. Personally, I feel that their verdict was unreasonable, and that it constitutes a shameful power grab.

If you ask me—or if you ask any legal expert, for that matter—the Knesset was correct. It is absolutely unreasonable for eight judges to be able to tell 63 members of the Knesset, as well as the millions of voters who supported them, that their decisions were unreasonable. Parenthetically, I have met a large number of Supreme Court justices who have taken turns chairing the Central Elections Committee, which is headquartered in the Knesset building, and I can tell you that I found it utterly unreasonable that many of those judges managed to be appointed to the Supreme Court in the first place….

In any event, I do not believe that any judge, even if he or she is a member of the Supreme Court, is more qualified than any other person to determine what is reasonable. I also feel that it is unreasonable for any Jew to reject the fundamental tenets of our religion. It is audacity for the judges to believe that they have a greater understanding of what is reasonable. Of course, it is also absurd for the judges to rule by a narrow majority that a law must be overturned because it was passed by a narrow majority. That should also be considered unreasonable….

Under ordinary circumstances, these two verdicts would have triggered a massive firestorm of protests and would have remained in the headlines for many days. But as I noted, there are plenty of other problems that have captured the country’s attention at this time.

When Does a Cartoon Become Incitement?

Another story that is indirectly linked to these rulings is the request made by the court administration to remove a political cartoon that took aim at outgoing Chief Justice Esther Chayut. The cartoon, which appeared on Thursday in the religious magazine Shvii, triggered a major uproar. It depicted Chayut trampling on a soldier of the IDF while waving a flag bearing the emblem of the court system. The caption, written by the publisher of the magazine, states, “The Supreme Court’s ruling on the reasonability standard proves once again that the judges are completely disconnected from reality.”

This led to an avalanche of outrage from the court. The court’s legal advisor even contacted the newspaper and insisted that the cartoon might be considered incitement to violence and should be removed immediately. The cartoon was deleted, while left-wing politicians added their own voices to the attack on the newspaper.

The reaction of outrage was infuriating to many people on the right, for a simple reason: The courts and the left have suddenly discovered that a cartoon may be considered incitement, a position that they have always refused to take. Plenty of inflammatory cartoons have been published in the past that vilify the chareidim and the political right, but complaints about those images fell on deaf ears. Not long ago, Haaretz ran a cartoon that depicted Minister Orit Struck throwing a grenade at pilots in the air force. This was in response to a cabinet session in which Struck asked the chief of staff of the IDF if it is true that pilots do not always comply with requests from the soldiers on the ground to bomb various targets. If the pilots truly refuse to comply, they would be severely endangering the soldiers on the ground. Her question was based on firsthand accounts that she had received from soldiers in the IDF, but it triggered an uproar, which led to the cartoon that portrayed her as attacking the army. Prime Minister Netanyahu has also been the subject of many demeaning caricatures, and the chareidi community has also been targeted by numerous vitriolic cartoons. Yet all these highly incendiary images did not evoke a single peep from the left or the courts.

Why Ruin an Informant?

Every week, a journalistic program in Israel has been exposing more and more information that was received by the IDF before the massacre of October 7. Every new revelation is even more shocking than those that preceded it. It has become abundantly clear that the entire defense establishment was suffering from blindness. The latest revelation was that the IDF had received invaluable information that could have prevented the tragedy, but the authorities chose to ignore it. The program reported, “Months before the Hamas surprise attack, the Shin Bet received concrete information about Hamas’s intent to carry it out, including the planned date. This information came from a human source working with the Shin Bet in Gaza, who informed them that Hamas was planning a major attack to take place during the week after Yom Kippur. Unlike the ‘warning signs’ that were received on the night before October 7, this wasn’t merely a vague indication of what was to come or a broadcast that was intercepted. This information came from an actual informant within Gaza.”

This news report then went on to expose the identity of the informant, and that is where I feel they went wrong. It is occasionally necessary to reveal a collaborator’s identity, when there is no other way to prevent an imminent terror attack. In this case, however, there seems to be no justification for giving up a vital source of inside information. That informant has been exposed and will no longer be able to provide any useful information to Israel.

Journalism at Its Worst

Speaking of journalistic standards, I am often appalled by some of the techniques employed by the Israeli media. You may recall that I recently wrote about a story that appeared in several Israeli newspapers, which recycled a report from an American newspaper about a tough conversation between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu. A newspaper in Israel reported that a “tough conversation” had taken place between Aryeh Deri and Prime Minister Netanyahu, after Minister Ben-Gvir decided not to extend the tenure of the current Prison Service commissioner. This report sounded bizarre; why would Deri and Netanyahu exchange harsh words? Sure enough, the retraction wasn’t long in coming, as the newspaper soon reported, “Contrary to the previous reports, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Rabbi Aryeh Deri did not exchange any harsh words concerning the commissioner of the Prison Service. The description of their conversation, which did not occur, is pure fake news.” The fact that the story slipped into print in the first place attests to the lack of journalistic standards in the media, but it gets worse: One newspaper went so far as to report the fake story and to add that it had since been exposed as an untruth. Once again, what is the point in doing this? Why is it newsworthy that someone invented an incident that never happened and that the lie was later exposed?

As for the conflict over the head of the Prison Service, Ben-Gvir and Benny Gantz have been embroiled in a dispute over the tenures of the chief of police and the commissioner of the Prison Service, and the media reported that Netanyahu was forced to intervene to settle their disagreement. Alas, the attorney general quickly became involved, notifying the prime minister that he was barred from involvement in the appointment of the police chief due to the conflict of interest agreement that was worked out by her predecessor, Avichai Mandelblit. According to this twisted logic, Netanyahu also should not have any involvement in the appointment of the prison commissioner, since he may one day find himself in one of the country’s prisons.

This absurd situation reminds me of the famous joke about a prime minister who visited one of the country’s universities. While he was being hosted there, the directors of the university handed the prime minister a long list of requests for funding for various purposes. The prime minister informed them that the state coffers were empty, and it would be impossible to accommodate their requests. A few days later, the prime minister visited a prison, where the staff handed him another list of requests for funding. This time, the prime minister told his staff to take the list and to accommodate every request. “Mr. Prime Minister,” one of his advisors said, “why did you tell the university deans that there is no money for their requests, while you are being very generous to the Prison Service?”

The prime minister replied, “The difference is that there is no chance that I will personally be attending a university in this lifetime….”

Rav Shach Warns Against Overconfidence

Our Torah is eternal, and it shapes the reality in which we live. The Torah tells us that Yishmael will be a pere adam (a beast in the form of a human being) and that is precisely what he is. When Yaakov Avinu accused Shimon and Levi of using “klei chamas,” Rashi explains that their acts of murder were a tool that they “stole” from Eisov; bloodshed is his personal occupation.

During this period of darkness, it is especially important to remember that we will not win this war with the might of our hands or our weapons. Instead, the key to victory lies in our tefillos. The real war isn’t unfolding on the front lines here on earth; it is taking place in Shomayim, against the sar of Yishmael. That is why the shuls and botei medrash have been buzzing with activity. Torah learning and tefillah are the religious community’s contributions to the war effort, and, in fact, these things are the only real contribution to the country’s success.

Last Thursday, I attended a shiur on the Ohr Hachaim’s commentary on the Torah. In one particularly poignant passage, the Ohr Hachaim tells us, “During the fourth golus, when the great redeemer appears, Klal Yisroel must have the mitzvah of Torah learning in their hands. Without that, he will not come…. If the time for geulah arrives and there is no ‘wine,’ a metaphor for bnei Torah, then the geulah will come through the oppression and hardship of golus that will be created by the nations.” May Hashem protect us from such hardships.

Rav Elazar Menachem Man Shach writes the following, citing the Rambam’s statement in Hilchos Taanios 1:1 that the Jewish people must recognize that misfortune befalls them due to their own evil deeds: “What are the bad deeds that we have? We are certainly not free of bad deeds, but the worst of all is the pagan belief in our strength and the might of our hands. The people have been taught to rely on the IDF, the help of the United States, and the power of weapons, as if the Arabs have no power, no strength, and no weapons of their own. Are the Arabs lazy? The current war [the Yom Kippur War] came along and undermined the foundations of this approach. The conceited thought that the IDF is an undefeatable army has been shattered to pieces. All of a sudden, the entire country was facing terrible danger…. We must know that only our tefillos have sustained us, and only Hashem saved us. If we experienced unmistakable miracles on Yom Kippur and on the days thereafter, it is in the merit of our tefillos, for there was no natural reason for the Arabs to suffer this failure. This war is undoubtedly meant to shatter the avodah zarah of worshiping our own strength. It is midah k’neged midah. This is the way that Hashem deals with human beings. We thought that we had power, and that is why we suffered a terrible blow, to teach us that we are not truly mighty and to show us that there were mistakes and failures in many ways. This proved that we are no more than simple mortals and that victory isn’t in our pockets. Even now, we still haven’t been victorious and the war hasn’t ended. Only Hashem knows what will happen in the end. May Hashem put an end to our troubles.”

These words are as relevant today as they were when they were first spoken.

A Yungermans Sacrifice

“This week,” a kollel yungerman told me, “I heard someone in my kollel groaning, ‘When will I be able to drink coffee again?’ I didn’t really understand the problem; he could easily have prepared a cup of coffee for himself, but he didn’t.”

“What’s the point of this story?” I asked him.

“Well, I couldn’t help but ask him about it,” my interlocutor replied. “He explained that he is addicted to coffee, and he can’t tolerate going without it.”

“Then what was the issue?” I pressed.

“That’s the point. You see, he made a resolution to refrain from drinking coffee on any day when a soldier in the IDF is killed….”

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