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The War of Judgment

Mishpacha Contributors

Forty years ago, Israel’s enemies rose up and attacked the Jewish People on their holiest day. It was indeed a day of fear and trembling.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Who among us can approach Yom Kippur with confidence? Who is so sure that their good deeds outweigh their bad, that their repentance has reached G-d’s ears? The Torah warns us not to feel overconfident. In Devarim (8:17), Moshe Rabbeinu implores the Jewish People never to forget the source of their blessings and think “kochi v’otzem yadi asah li es hachayil hazeh — my strength and the might of my hand made me all this.”

Such was the position ofIsraelafter the Six Day War. A stunning victory, a miraculous turn of events, had leftIsraelfeeling swollen and indolent. Its Arab enemies had been pushed back to easily defensible lines; Israeli soldiers were stationed overlooking theSuez Canal. What could possibly go wrong?

On that terrible day in October 1973, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau heard the blast of the air raid siren in a Tel Aviv shul, Rabbi Haim Sabato was a soldier on the front lines, Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb was a stunned mispallel in faraway Silver Spring, Maryland, Dr. Itzhak Brook was a battlefield medic, Rabbi Moshe Yaakov Perl was an innocent talmid in Telz, and Ambassador Yehuda Avner was in the highest echelons of Israel’s government. After the war, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis would visit soldiers maimed by the war in hospitals across Eretz Yisrael.

Their memories of that fateful day are no less powerful 40 years later.

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