Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
Rabbi Yisrael Meir LauEli Eitkin

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected]

 

Recognized as an enormously creative talent, singer, and actor, *Idan Amedi* — who is a soldier, too — is now referred to as Idan ben Tova. This is his name for those who are praying for his complete and speedy recovery after he was wounded in Gaza. 

I checked WhatsApp for the last message Idan sent me and was amazed by what I found. He had sent a link to his song “Keep Marching.” It is a song he wrote about *Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau*. He wrote about the inspiration for this song as follows: 

“In 1942 at the age of five, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, a small and frightened little boy they called ‘Lulak,’ stood with his family in the city of Piotrkow, Poland, awaiting transport to the concentration camps. There he saw a Gestapo officer strike his father with a baton since he refused to shave his beard and his sidelocks. During the next few years, the rabbi lost almost all of his family to the murder apparatus of the evil Nazi regime. The rabbi was the youngest of those liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp.

"I read the rabbi’s book just before I was drafted into the IDF. It changed my life and profoundly influenced every choice I have made since then. I remember myself as a young officer reading excerpts from this book to my soldiers, especially the following passage. It is found at the beginning of the book in a speech the rabbi delivered upon receiving the Israel Prize on the 57th anniversary of the founding of the state: 

“My brother who is sitting here today, when he was separated from me in Buchenwald, told me this: ‘You are now a big boy, almost 8. I must tell you the truth. We do not have a father, we do not have a mother, and I also have to go away. You will be left alone. I do not believe that this hell will end. But if this inferno does somehow come to a close and you remain alive, remember that there is a place in the world called Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel). Repeat after me: Eretz Yisrael. Go there. This is our home. There they do not kill Jews. This is our home. In our home, in Eretz Yisrael, ‘all Jews are guarantors of one another.’ The nation of Israel lives. Amedi.” 

May Idan and all the wounded enjoy a complete and speedy recovery and may everyone hear good news.