Death, survival and hearing the Jewish Shema

Tuvia Brodie,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Tuvia Brodie
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is He usually publishes 3-4 times a week on his blog and 1-3 times at Arutz Sheva. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.

If you live in exile, what do you think about during the day? If you’re like most people, you probably spend most of your ‘thinking’ time focused on work, shopping, sports and family.

But if you live in Israel, you think about something else. You think about death--and survival.

We are at war. The enemy is implacable. He wants to kill us. Can we survive?

The enemy are mostly teenagers who have spent all of their lives from kindergarten through High School being brainwashed to kill Jews.

If you live in Israel, you know that this brainwashing is paying off. Teens who have been brainwashed with Jew-hate since childhood rush with a drawn knife at heavily armed Israeli security forces. These religiously psychotic teens die.

Teens and twenty-somethings rush down a city street slashing at Jews with a long kitchen knife. It’s insane. They throw themselves to their death. Why?

We know why. This war isn’t for political freedom. This is a religious war to kill Jews in the name of a god.

In their version of ‘holiness’, suicide-by-cop is martyrdom. It’s pure. It’s honoured by most everyone in the Palestinian Authority, especially its leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

The insanely barbaric rush to martyrdom means that when we Jews get onto a bus, we think about death--ours. When we get off a bus, we think about it again.

The potential for death is all around us. With Muslim youth looking to die for Islam, we know each day could be our last.

News from exile reports how frightening this is. The stories seem to emphasis the fear. But for many of us in Israel, this Arab Muslim rush to die doesn’t immobilize us. In the end, it energizes us. It unites us.

This Islamic death-by-cop reminds us that we must live each day to its fullest. We must hug our children and spouses. We must ‘live in the moment’. We must turn to HaShem.

He’s the only one who can protect us. The IDF can’t. The border police can’t. The Muslim threat we face every day reminds us that we don’t live in Israel for a materialistic reason. We live for a different purpose. That purpose has nothing to do with career, sports or, as one US bumper-sticker proclaims, ‘he who dies with the most toys, wins’.

Our purpose here is to fulfil G-d’s Promise to the Jewish people. We are here because this land really is the Promised Land.

That’s why we come to Israel. It’s been why we’ve always come. Secular or religious, we come because this is where we know we belong.

One night last month in our neighbourhood, we got a different reminder of why we’re here.  At that time, a neighbourhood synagogue brought a new Torah scroll (sefer Torah) into its building. That meant a parade through the streets from the home of the family which sponsored the purchase. That meant the appearance of a special parade car, one equipped specifically for this purpose.

The car was a Toyota Land Cruiser. It was topped with some of the most powerful loud speakers I’ve ever heard. The vehicle was also decked out with flashing lights and scrolling LED signs. It seemed ringed with lines of light (on LED strings). The loud speakers played Jewish religious songs as a neighbourhood crowd gathered to walk behind the car while men carried all of the synagogue’s Torah scrolls—with the new one in the middle of it all.

When the flashing, ‘singing’ car got to the synagogue, it paused. After some very brief ‘speeches’, we experienced the finale: at full blast, the loud speakers sang out the Shema—Judaism’s signature prayer. This prayer is only six words long. But it’s filled with meaning. To hear it blast out into the air like this, sung slowly and lovingly by a man (recorded) with a magnificent voice, stirred the soul.

This is what our life here in Israel is all about—the singing soul of the Jewish people. Our enemy can attack us. Our enemy will attack us. But the sound of our Shema sung full blast in our own land in our own neighbourhood, reminds us why we are here: to answer the call to HaShem.

The recorded voice sang the Shema not once but three times. Slowly. Full-blast from three enormous speakers. It seemed as if our souls vibrated with the sounds of our Shema.

If you’re in exile, you need to come home. You need to be here. You need to stand here. You need to hear our Shema sung with such power your soul sings.

For more on this story, please visit the tuviabrodieblog.(the internet link doesn't work. Please enter tuvia brodie blog into your search engine)