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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

A Soldier's Story

Adapted from a letter written by a soldier Avi Lewis. May Hashem protect all of our heroes:

I’ve been nearly 3 weeks in IDF Reserve Duty, and I’ve never been more hopeful for Israel’s future

The Jewish state never had natural resources

It’s strength has always been its people

I always knew we had the best, but it took being on base to get that reminder from the inside

Take for example all the Jews and Israelis abroad that paused their lives to catch the first flight home

Here are some personal examples of guys from my unit that I serve with:

Tom is completing his medical residency as a heart surgeon in Toronto. He left behind his wife and young kids to don the IDF uniform.

Noam is a serial entrepreneur, former Big Tech VP, and successfully led a $1 billion exit as CEO of one of Israel’s most famous startups. He swapped his apartment in Manhattan for a tent and black coffee in the field

Naor left his medical studies in Italy

Tomer was vacationing with his wife in Paris

Ron left his startup in Boston (he’s CEO)

Gabriel was hiking in Greece

Eldad was wrapping up a post-Doc in Physics at a world class university

And so many more.

These are just a handful of folks that I serve with that dropped everything the moment they heard their country was in need

There are many thousands more - in every unit, in every battalion and of every rank

They left behind families, thriving businesses, packed calendars, speaking engagements, sprints, paperwork, H2 planning sessions, exams and business deals - without a second thought

Now we are all dressed in green, rifles draped over shoulders, prepared to fight - and even to sacrifice - for our country

I don’t know what the future holds, but I feel confident and optimistic serving alongside these guys

They say that the IDF is a “people’s army”

That really comes to life in times like these, when all reservists are mobilized

We are tech professionals, business leaders, marketers, students, chefs, cinematographers, doctors, lawyers, accountants and educators

And although we may have diverged our separate ways after completing our mandatory IDF service post-high-school, the shared understanding that this our only home brings us back together

In this week’s Torah Portion, “Lech Lecha” we read about the origins of the Jewish people

Avraham is commanded to Lech Lecha - literally to “go forth for yourself” - or which can also be understand as: “within yourself” - from his land, birthplace and father’s house to the land that Hashem will show him

Avraham’s journey across the Fertile Crescent marks the beginning of Jewish history:

That remarkable and unbelievable 4,000 year old story that we, his descendants, are still living today

That journey is about seeking truth

Avraham didn’t settle for idols. His soul was eager to discover the true Creator of the world.

At every moment in everyone’s life, Hashem is calling us to “Lech Lecha”

He’s constantly whispering: “Lech Lecha, Lech Lecha, Lech Lecha..”

Sometimes we tap into it, most often we don’t

Sometimes it’s quiet and indiscernible

Other times it’s an epiphany that hits like a tonne of bricks

“Lech Lecha, Lech Lecha, Lech Lecha..”

This war has been a watershed moment for many, but also for me personally

It’s given me a sense of moral clarity

It’s also given me a sense of perspective for what is really important in life

And now three weeks into IDF Reserve Duty, I’ve never felt more proud, more aligned with my ideals and more fulfilled to be playing a small role to contributing to Israel’s defense

Just like my fellow reservists that flew in from abroad to heed their own Lecha Lecha

So many of our brothers and sisters around the world - from Melbourne to Monsey, from Berlin to Baltimore - are heeding that awakening mission given to Avraham thousands of years ago

Jewish history has always been filled with trials and tribulations

Now we are writing that next chapter of Jewish history

Of Lech Lecha


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