Dear BFL Family,
Each year our BFL families in Israel wait for our huge Chanukah celebration, which often brings together more than 800 people. Like every program this year, we had to think out of the box. There is no way we were canceling Chanukah, even with all the Covid restrictions! We decided to give hundreds of our soldiers the same small BFL Menorah, and we all got on Zoom together and lit our menorahs at the exact same moment all over Israel. It was a sense of togetherness on Chanukah we will never forget.
Each night of Chanukah many of our soldiers, their families, and friends continue to virtually light together and give thanks for the miracle of Chanukah then and the miracle of Israel now. We also celebrate the miracle that each of us made it through our injuries, not to just survive, but to thrive and bring force the next generation of the Jewish People.
I would like to share with you a beautiful thought from the great Rabbi Sacks, TZ’L. Believe it or not at one time many rabbis argued to abandon Chanukah. “The victory didn’t last,” they said, “and the Second Temple was destroyed anyway.” “No!,” said other Sages. “Although the building was destroyed, Jewish hope was not destroyed.” In fact, their words, od lo avdah tikvatenu, “our hope is not destroyed,” became part of the Hatikva anthem that inspired Jews to return and rebuild Israel.
One last amazing but true story. The photo below is from our BFL brother Hilik Gutman, who shared with us something incredible: “The menorah on the right was saved from the Holocaust by my late grandfather. This picture shows our connection to the past, our hope for a bright future, and the connection between them through our national flag. What’s more, Tal (left in the photo) was born on the day my unit was attacked and I was seriously injured. The past has come full circle to a future filled with hope. Thank you for everything!”
Please know that each of you around the world is part of this unfolding BFL story. Know that nothing can diminish our hope. Not the pandemic, the injuries, terrorism, or anything else. Od lo avdah tikvatenu! Our hope is not, and never will be destroyed!
Shabbat Shalom from Israel,