Praying at the Western Wall (archive)
Praying at the Western Wall (archive) photo: file

An assembly has been called for 3:00 p.m. Tuesday at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City to pray for the success of Israel's soldiers in their fight against Palestinian Authority terrorists and for all Jews in distress. Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, the "Rishon LeTzion" and former Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, has called for the public to take part.

In addition to IDF soldiers at the front, prayers will focus on: residents of communities within the range of Hamas rockets; the nation's sick and those wounded as a result of the ongoing enemy attacks; abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, held by the Gaza jihadists; Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard, imprisoned in an American jail; and the blessing of rain in the Land of Israel.

One central message that organizers are emphasizing is the responsibility of each Jew for his fellow. This, against the backdrop of a fast day on the 10th of the Hebrew month of Tevet, which falls on Tuesday. The 10th of Tevet Fast marks the anniversary of the beginning of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, which culminated in the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem more than 2,500 years ago. The prayer assembly, organizers explained, is intended as a spiritual healing of the sins that led to the loss of the Temple.

Why Pollard?

"The prayer for the success of our soldiers and for the residents of the south is clear on the backdrop of the war we are in the midst of, but why pray specifically now for the salvation of our brother Jonathan Pollard?" the organizers of the assembly asked in promotional literature. "We are now very close to the most critical and important moment in the struggle for the salvation and release of our brother Jonathan Pollard, who is starting his 24th year in jail and whose situation is so serious it may be life threatening. In a short time (the 24th of Tevet), [US President] Bush is going to conclude his term, and this is the opportunity to save our brother Jonathan. Praying for his release is the least we can do for a Jew who dedicated himself to preserving our security...."

In a related effort, a special telephone line has been set up to allow Israelis to call the White House for the price of a local call and ask President George Bush to pardon Jonathan Pollard before he leaves office. Pollard has been behind bars for passing classified information to Israel; however, his sentence has far exceeded that of any other individual caught acting on behalf of an American ally. Fifteen thousand Israelis have already used the phone number, 077-566-4305, to express their views to the White House.

Other Prayer Initiatives

A special prayer for the troops, recommended for reciting jointly, was read by IDF Chief Rabbi Avi Ronsky on Sunday to the troops about to join combat with Hamas terrorists in Gaza. A new prayer written specifically for the besieged residents of southern Israel was approved last week by Rabbi Eliyahu.

In addition, Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook, the chief rabbi of Rehovot, and Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Horowitz, the Bostoner Rebbe, have initiated a "prayer for every soldier" campaign. The objective is to have people add to their regular Torah study and prayers for the sake of IDF soldiers on the front lines.

The public has been asked to pray for IDF soldier Hoshea ben Miriam, who was critically wounded in Gaza fighting. The family told Arutz Sheva on Monday evening that his condition has improved since he was first evacuated from Gaza, but he is still in serious condition and in need of the public's prayers.

In total, seven soldiers suffered light to moderate wounds in fighting during the day Monday.

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