Did you read the fake news? Did you also fall for it?
It was widely reported, both in Israel and abroad, and all well-paid so-called “experts”were quick to offer their analysis and conclusions. Obviously, it was difficult for the typical media consumer to tell it was all fake news.
But it was.
No, I am not referring to the blast in Gaza’s hospital, where news broadcasts blamed Israel for a tragedy it had nothing to do with.
I am talking about something else.
For months and months, news channels spoke about the deep divide among the Jews of Israel. They told us about rifts that cannot be healed, deep divisions between those who wanted the judicial reforms and those who opposed them. Hundreds of thousands of protesters and counter-protesters. Raging debates that seemed to tear apart the nation, spilling into other topics such as religion, political affiliation, and more.
The tension was so high that some people suggested dividing the country into two states. They were genuinely concerned that the people are too divided and would never be able to come together.
It was all fake news.
The moment the massacre began, on that fateful morning of Simchat Torah in Israel, all of it proved to be wrong. Suddenly, superficial differences such as political ideology, the kippah on the head or lack thereof, the personal opinions and lifestyles, made no difference whatsoever. Once again, the people of Israel stand shoulder to shoulder, deeply caring for each other like one big family, which we truly are.
It happened as brave soldiers and civilians were rushing to the scene to save people’s lives, and it’s still happening now all over Israel, with an incredible show of unity.
Here are just two stories I heard that touched my heart:
The first is about one of the fanciest restaurants in Tel Aviv, where reservations must be made months in advance. The chef decided to provide food for an IDF platoon near Gaza. On typical days, observant Jews would never enter this restaurant because it serves all kinds of non-kosher food. The chef, however, decided to kasher the entire operation (!) so he could provide kosher food for the soldiers.
The second one is about a group of older charedi guys traveling to another army base every night, where they set up tables, fire up grills, and serve all the soldiers with prime steaks and burgers. They have taken it as a personal mission to bring the soldiers great food and encourage them as they prepare for battle.
And these are only two examples from endless stories of unity, care, and compassion. Because we are all brothers and sisters, and anyone who claimed otherwise is simply telling fake news.
During the Yom Kippur War, the rebbe penned a letter. He pointed out that the attack was against every Jewish person, man, woman, and child, and how our unity will bring G-d’s blessing and protection. Fifty years later, once again, we encountered a heinous attack against men, women, and children, and once again, we are as united as ever.
Please, G-d, bring the hostages home safely, send healing to all the injured, and comfort to all the families who mourn their loved ones. May our unity bring peace to the Jewish people and the entire world, Amen.
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the rabbi of Chabad of Hackensack and an editorial member of Chabad.org. He looks forward to your comments and questions at Rabbi@ChabadHackensack.com