Dreaming of Moshiach

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Burying Siddur in Gush Katif

... The call came from a freind's son who was serving in the Israeli Army. He had gone to learn in Eretz Yisrael and later joined a hesder yeshiva and promptly entered the army.

Quickly growing in the army ranks, after just three years he had become an officer in charge of a large group of men. Last summer—one year ago—he was assigned to lead a group of soldiers to evacuate one of the settlements in Gush Katif.[+/-] show/hide text
He begged to be released from that assignment, as he was totally opposed to the government’s decision to evacuate these people but was ordered to do so anyway. On the morning of the evacuation, he entered into a small moshav and went directly to the shul, where everyone had gathered, including the rav of the moshav.

After davening and crying together, both the rav and the soldier spoke about the need to exit peacefully, so brother would not have to fight against brother. With tears, everyone exited the rear of the shul onto the buses waiting to escort them from the only home that many of them had ever known. The rav and the officer exited together at the end of the line.

Before the soldier got onto the bus, he stopped in his tracks, reached back into his knapsack, withdrew his personal siddur from it, opened it up, and wrote in that day’s date. He then got down on his knees, and with his bare hands started digging a hole in the ground. After a few minutes, he kissed the siddur, placed it into the ground, and covered it with the dug-out dirt.

The Rav had been watching him, and asked him why he was burying his siddur. He explained that he is confident that one day, Jews will return to Gush Katif and to this moshav; he doesn’t know when—maybe in 10 years, or 20, or 50. But one day, maybe a Jew will find his siddur and realize that Jews were here and left their hearts behind. With that being said, the soldier and the rav embraced and then together, arm in arm, boarded the bus and left.

The story continues exactly 11 months later. This soldier, now an officer in the engineers corps, received an order to enter Gaza with his men under the cover of darkness and set up a headquarters from which the soldiers would be sent on missions deep into Gaza.

He entered Gaza, proceeded to the designated spot, and set up the headquarters tent. When it began to get light, he looked around him and all he saw was total destruction. Mountains of debris and devastation abounded; he had no idea exactly where he was. All of a sudden—he doesn’t know what compelled him to do so—he dropped to his knees and began to furiously dig at the dirt with his hands, and after several moments he felt something. As he reached in further, he pulled out his own siddur—the very siddur he had buried just 11 months earlier.

He was in shock. After several moments, his entire body began to shake uncontrollably. He cried out, “Hashem! Why? What are you trying to tell me? What message am I to get from coming back to the very spot where I buried my siddur only 11 months ago and finding it again?” He called his father in New York and told him this story, asking him to please call Rabbi Ginzberg, tell him what happened, and ask for an explanation.

That is the call I received just hours into my vacation, and it touched me to the core of my neshamah. My vacation—and any hope for relaxation—was now officially over. I explained to the father that I am much too small to even begin to understand the meaning of this incident and what HaKadosh Baruch Hu is telling him. But I had a suggestion: While I could not respond to his question, there is an adam gadol in Bnei Brak who lives in a world of kulo Torah—maybe he could. I told him I would arrange a private visit for him on motzaei Shabbos in Bnei Brak, and he should go and tell his story to Maran Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita.

I called Rav Chaim’s son, explained the matter, and arranged for the soldier to meet Rav Chaim on motzaei Shabbos. He went and was received with the utmost of seriousness for his question. Rav Chaim responded immediately; he asked him what he did to prevent the expulsion from Gaza. The soldier said, “I davened constantly, and pleaded with my superiors to ignore the government’s directives, all to no avail.”

“And after the expulsion, what did you do?” asked Rav Chaim. The soldier responded, “What could I do? It was all over.” Rav Chaim said, “The power of tefillah is not to be underestimated, and you should have taken your siddur in hand and continued davening. Who knows what HaKadosh Baruch Hu would have done, had we continued to storm the Shamayim with tefillos? You instead chose to bury your siddur in the ground—for you, it was over. But Hashem says, ‘It’s not over! Here is your siddur back; go and pour your heart out again for Eretz Yisrael and for Klal Yisrael.’”

By: Rav Aryeh Zev Ginzberg Thursday, August 17, 2006




והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו