In the wake of October 7, I’ve seen the Jewish people step up and do so many incredible things, including sending food and money to Israel, holding rallies and unity events, speaking out on social media and writing to U.S. politicians to take action. The amount of love and compassion this war has sparked is awe-inspiring.
However, I’ve also seen extreme figures on both sides say that we are doing it all wrong. On one side, I saw a secular Jew post that we should not be praying, but instead fighting. And on the other side, I saw a religious Jew say that we should not be rallying for Israel but should instead be praying.
To both of them, I say: You’re wrong. This a physical and spiritual war, and we aren’t going to win without focusing on each of these efforts. Just look to the Torah for guidance on how we can do both.
The Jews have been attacked ever since they became Jews during the revelation at Sinai, when we received the Torah. We didn’t win that battle just because we were physically strong. It was necessary to fight it, but with Hashem’s help. Moshe would hold up his hands and rod when the Israelites were battling the Amalekites, and when he lowered them, the Amalekites would suddenly start winning. Why? Because Moshe was fervently praying to Hashem and turning to Him for help in the time of his people’s greatest need.
Every Jew, right now, must look outward and see how they can help Israel, whether that means sending care packages to soldiers in the IDF, visiting Israel and volunteering or contributing to some other important cause. But they must also look inward, towards their souls, and determine how they can become closer to Hashem at this time.
For young Israeli women on TikTok, that means cutting up their immodest clothes and wearing clothing suited for a Jewish queen, which we all are. For men, it may mean wrapping tefillin every day. For teens, it could mean putting their phone down on Shabbat, and for kids, it might include listening to their parents and honoring them through kibud av v’em.
Since October 7, I have gone out of my way to be kind to everyone around me, Jewish or not. I have become more engaged as a mother, putting my phone down to spend quality time with my daughters, saying “yes” to them more often and hugging them tight, letting them know how much I love them. I have made it a point to listen to Torah podcasts and go to classes to strengthen my bitachon, my trust in Hashem. Now is not the time to worry; it’s the time to trust.
What people on either extreme of this are missing is how much we need each other, and how now is when we need to come together – not be divided.
What people on either extreme of this are missing is how much we need each other, and how now is when we need to come together – not be divided. The Orthodox Jews need the secular Jews, the Conservative Jews need the unaffiliated Jews. The message we are supposed to be learning is that only if we are unified will we be strong enough to beat Hamas and antisemitism and win this physical and spiritual war. We can have varying opinions on Judaism and how to go about winning while still being respectful and loving one another. That’s the true test.
I’ve been inspired by the Kohanim on Call, the Kohanim who have given out thousands of blessings to IDF soldiers, as well as the Jewish men in the IDF wearing tzitzit. Seeing the photo of a minyan in front of the White House during the march in Washington, D.C. was so uplifting. Seeing women baking challah and praying for the hostages is amazing.
This is how it’s done. We must combine our powers and continue to use it to bring light into this world. With the IDF’s strength, Hashem’s help and the support of the Jewish people on both sides, we are going to win this war.
How do you think we will win the war? Email me: Kylieol@JewishJournal.com
Kylie Ora Lobell is the Community Editor of the Jewish Journal.