The Moment it Hit Home
Rabbi Moshe Dov Heber
Simchas Torah in Waterbury is beautiful in multiple ways. So many of our homegrown bochurim are home sharing their Simchas Torah with their families and the children of the community. All our shuls are packed with guests who have come to join in the Simchas Torah of a young and vibrant community.
On the morning of Shemini Atezres we read in Koheles “There is a time for war and a time for peace.” We started hearing the reports of the terrible tragedies in Eretz Yisroel. Following davening, there was an announcement and Tehillim was said with fervor for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel. It meant something, but yet at the same time it felt so distant.
That night, Simchas Torah began with the beautiful Hakafos in Yeshiva Gedolah. Men, bochurim and children were dancing together celebrating our precious jewel, the Torah. There were circles of boys with their rebbeim and circles of fathers with sons.
Unbeknownst to most there, a bochur in the yeshiva had stepped out. Levi was currently learning well in the yeshiva but was a sergeant in the Golan. He was told by the posek that he must call to see if he needs to report. In the dorms adjacent to the yeshiva, Levi was making these calls figuring out his plan of action.
In the middle of hakofos, Levi walked in with a serious face. His expression showed a sense of tension and trepidation. The rebbeim, bochurim, and community members slowly gathered around him to hear what was going on. Levi told of the situation and his need to report as soon as possible.
A community member gave him a sefer Torah. Levi stood in the middle of the circle, clutching the sefer Torah, surrounded by so many who cared for him. The dancing then stopped.
Those gathered around him began singing “Acheinu” over and over. This was followed by songs of belief, protection and salvation.
The war was for real.
Levi landed Monday morning in Eretz Yisroel. Please be mispallel for Levi Yitzchok ben Dina Miriam and all those who are putting their lives on the line to protect our nation, as well as acheinu kol beis Yisrael, hanisunim b'tzara u’vashivyah.