Rabbi Zvi Rimon is rabbi of Gush Etzion. He message to the regions' residents is relevant to all those who pray for Israel's success and welfare.
We are at war. The situation is complex and difficult. There are those that have been murdered, wounded, and taken captive. I have been spending much time with our wonderful soldiers in the south and other places, and despite the hardship, I find the soldiers feeling strong and with a sense of mission.
We are facing difficult times, but we have not been discouraged. Thank G-d we have an amazing military and with G-d’s help we shall also win this war. We are walking with our heads upright, with the knowledge that we are in the midst of the age of redemption. Our sages of blessed memory taught us what the redemption will look like. The redemption is not a process of continuous ascension. The process contains periods of decline, however these declines are also part of the ascension that follows.
Our redemption is not the redemption from Egypt. It is not a redemption of external miracles. Our redemption requires work that we ourselves must undertake, a war of our own, but with knowing that G-d helps us, that G-d is with us. We are not alone. The Torah promises that G-d is with us during times of war “Because the Lord your G-d walks in the midst of your camp, to save you and deliver your enemy to you.”
We were accompanied with miracles revealed to us during the redemption from Egypt: the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea. People sometimes expect miracles such as these, even in present times. Our sages taught us that our redemption will not be a redemption of revealed miracles. Our redemption is a natural redemption; a process. It is a redemption that occurs gradually, stage by stage. This redemption will be the result of human achievement that occurs naturally, in a way in which the world will be able to internalize and absorb its light.
There was a need for a super-natural redemption from Egypt, which was to introduce a power into the world which would have been impossible to understand by natural means. Our mission now is to internalize the redemption slowly, this redemption, which is occurring as part of the natural process. Therefore, through this redemption, the Divine message will be able to penetrate reality and transform that natural reality into a Divine reality.
A natural redemption is accompanied by hardships and obstacles. However these hardships and obstacles do not denote the insignificance of the redemption; to the contrary. These difficulties teach us that the redemption has a place in the reality of the world. They teach us its relevance to the struggle of impacting and illuminating the whole world with its light. Our redemption shows man’s partnership with the act of creation.”
The People of Israel are fighting; the People of Israel are enduring, yet they always know that G-d is with them.
Today I went to the comfort the family of Yonatan Elazari, may G-d avenge his blood, who are sitting shiva. Yonatan had just begun his service in the Duvdevan Unit. He had been in Ofakim on a break from the army, and at his own initiative he had gone out to fight; he killed terrorists and was able to save hundreds of city residents. The bravery, determination, and courage conveyed, has not been conveyed at such a level for thousands of years. At home, too, the supreme bravery displayed by parents, wives, and children as they sit and wait, allows their dear ones to keep fighting. Their bravery, alongside their worry and tears, gives strength to our magnificent soldiers.
Redemption that unfolds as a process requires patience. It requires a great deal of strength. We know what the goal is, we know that we are in the throes of redemption, but we also know that it is a process. With G-d’s help we are at the advanced stages of redemption – the times of the Messiah. But now, as we face moments of tears and pain and fear, together with determination, strength, and dedication, we are on a mission to protect our people and our country.
I have delivered many talks to instill strength in the soldiers. Soldiers who have come to listen to me have been both religious and secular, left wing and right wing, supporters and opposers of the reform. Everyone listened and everyone came for a supportive embrace. There is a great love among us. You are not alone. The People of Israel are with you. Jews in Israel and the whole world over want to help. We are holding each other and loving each other.
We are privileged to get to travel to many military bases, bringing soldiers much of the equipment they need (in coordination with the respective commanders). However this equipment is just a sign of our great love, the beautiful embrace of the People of Israel everywhere.
Thank G-d, there is a lot of activity in Gush Etzion. We have many people assisting and volunteering, including seniors, young people, and children. Yet we should always look around us for women whose husbands have been drafted, older people, people who are alone and lonely. We must not leave anyone on their own! We need to take care of everyone. Thank G-d we are doing the right thing as we work and help, but always keep an eye open so that no one is forgotten!
It was close to the time of the establishment of the state when Gush Etzion fell. Kfar Etzion fell. At that time, we were unable to react. Today, thank G-d, we have the ability to respond, and with G-d’s help, from the faith we have in the path we take, and in G-d who is present within us and helps us, we shall succeed and triumph. With G-d’s help, the wounded will have a full recovery and the hostages will swiftly return to their homes. With the help of G-d, soldiers and civilians will no longer be hurt, and we should merit to sit in our homes in tranquility and peace, enjoying the comfort we derive from the unity in our Holy Land.
Josh Hasten, Gush Etzion spokesperson, sent Rabbi Rimon's inspiring words.