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A Different Type of Hostage


“I would love to do that. But I can’t. I’m being held hostage. Not by force. No, oddly enough, it’s by choice.”


October 7th is the day that we Jews living in America were pulled out of being held hostage. We were shaken out of our sense of fake security and thrust into our real identity.

You see, there is something really beautiful about the Jewish nation. When we snap out of our hostage status, we suddenly feel a surge of energy and belonging. It’s the same sense of belonging we feel when we come to the synagogue on the High Holidays. It’s the connection we feel to a greater power. We are the only nation that is constantly reminded of our uniqueness.

It is no coincidence we were attacked on Simchat Torah. The day Jewish people around the world were celebrating our identity and heritage. The day we dance and celebrate with the Torah. That is when they chose to attack us. They attacked us for being the Torah Nation. Just like the Egyptians attacked us on Yom Kippur in ’72.

We responded by strengthening and reinforcing our connection.

That’s precisely why so many Jews are embracing and adding in mitzvot with such passion. We are embracing that which was attacked. Our identity.

Much like the Nazis, Hamas taught us that every Jew is a Jew. They did not differentiate between our levels of religious observance. Nor did they care who you voted for. They had one identifier: are you Jewish.

And that is why we are finding Jewish people from all walks of life reconnecting with a Mitzvah. No matter our level of observance, no matter our political affiliation, we are all adding Mitzvot. Whether it is to wrap tefillin one more time or to commit to wrapping daily, we are each finding our own path of growth.

The world in 2024 is reminding us of the same old history lesson: Jews are different. The world and the Hauge were silent when 500,000 civilians were deliberately killed in Syria. The world doesn’t care about dead civilians. The world can’t swallow the proud Jew. They like dead Jews.

The Jews in 2024 are responding just like we responded every time we faced persecution: We embrace our identity even deeper.

The Romans were once a superpower. They are gone. The Greeks are gone, too. Spain had its time. And so did Turkey. We survived them all. We survived the Nazis, and we survived Communism.

Why? Don’t even try to explain it. It doesn’t make sense. But as they say, you can’t argue with the facts.

Our survival defies logic. Our nation started at Sinai, and no one can disrupt a Sinai-made nation. We are here to stay.

Is it any surprise that a Sinai-made nation is inspired to do Mitzvot?


Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Mendy