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Our prayers are never in vain

סמל עילאי צעיר, סמל ריף הרוש, סמל אמיתי אבן שושן וסרן עידו ברוך הי"ד
סמל עילאי צעיר, סמל ריף הרוש, סמל אמיתי אבן שושן וסרן עידו ברוך הי"ד

Major Daniel Perez fell in battle on Simchat Torah. The soldiers under his command saved dozens of people as he continued to fight in his tank for hours. Daniel was considered missing and then presumed captured. Just two weeks ago, he was declared fallen and his family began to sit Shiva. His father Rabbi Doron Perez, chairman of the World Mizrachi organization, sent the following message to communities worldwide:

“After 163 heart-wrenching days of angst, anxiety, prayers and mitzvot in Daniel’s merit, last week he was declared fallen on Simchat Torah. So many people prayed for him over the past 5 months – were those prayers in vain? Especially since before we began davening for him, he had already been killed.

Nothing could be further from the truth for two reasons. Although it isn’t the result that we wanted, it gives solace to know that he didn’t suffer. It is ‘only’ our loss, a painful loss, but we don’t need to worry about him. That is a relief, and it is because of your prayers that we were brought this finality.

Additionally, we always davened for Daniel amongst all the hostages. There are so many other hostages – including Matan Shachar ben Anat from Daniel’s tank – and therefore they were never only for Daniel. Not only were the prayers not in vain, but actually brought about a result that had already been determined but that we could experience through the prayers and bring to an end our suffering of anxiety for Daniel and to be able to move to the next painful stage of mourning.

Moreover, prayer is something which changes us first and foremost. The word for prayer, ‘lehitpalel,’ is reflexive. It is not only about impacting the world, but first impacts us. Once we change ourselves, we can change the world. And that is what has happened – the barriers between people have come down, Am Yisrael has become one, the acts of kindness, challah bakes, mitzvot, prayers, etc. – we have changed and become closer to G-d and each other and that lasts forever.

As we read in this week’s parasha about the korbanot, sacrifices, we remember the words of our Sages that prayers are in place of sacrifices – may we continue to pray and to feel as one, and in that merit may only good things happen for the Jewish people.”


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