DIVINE INTERVENTION PROTECTS THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL

BY RABBI MARK HILLEL KUNIS
SPECIAL FOR THE AJT

Jewish history is steeped in miracles — all expressions of G-d’s love. It began with the plagues in Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. It continued with Moses bringing forth water from a rock and Joshua crumbling the Walls of Jericho with the blasts of the shofar. What is G-d doing for Israel today? How much does G-d love us? He loves us so much that he sometimes bends the rules of nature to show it. As David Ben Gurion once said in an interview with CBS, “In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.”

Let me share with you some incredible demonstrations of G-d’s love for the Jewish people — miracles of the war in Gaza. It was in the first week of July that a group of religious Jews traveled to southern Israel to help the farmers harvest wheat in preparation for the Biblical Shemita Sabbatical year. According to the Torah, Jews are supposed to allow the land of Israel to rest during the entire final year of the 7-year Shemita agricultural cycle. That means no planting or harvesting for a year on Israeli farms.

Aharon Samet told the Israeli radio show, Upside Down, that a great miracle occurred thanks to the fact that they had to harvest more wheat than usual earlier in July to comply with this law: “This year…we need to harvest wheat for 2 years. We plowed the land looking for wheat that was sown late due to the rains that fell late this year. On Kibbutz Sufa on the Gaza border, we found an entire field that was sown in mid-January [because of the rains], which is very unusual.” They harvested the wheat and didn’t give it another thought.

Only a couple of weeks later, when the fighting between Israel and Hamas was at its peak, did Samet and his friends realize the significance of their actions. On July 17th, 13 Hamas militants infiltrated from Gaza via a tunnel into Israel at the exact spot near Kibbutz Sufa where the men had been farming. The terrorists were shocked, however, to discover — as they rose to the surface — that the natural camouflage that they counted on — the giant wheat field — had disappeared.

The now empty field allowed IDF surveillance to spot the Hamas militants as they emerged from underground, and to drop bombs on them. “Many lives were saved by the grace of Heaven,” the Israeli radio station, Kol Hai, commented.

At the beginning of the war, Hamas terrorists unleashed a fierce missile barrage on central and southern Israel, but the hand of G-d intervened to protect Israelis from physical harm with very few, if any deaths. In Ashdod, an M-75 missile slammed into a home, crashing through the ceiling and landing on the floor of the balcony, but it didn’t explode, and the inhabitants along with the rest of the home were miraculously unharmed.

In the July 18th edition of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, a headline carried a quote from a Hamas terrorist who was asked why they couldn’t aim their rockets more effectively: “We do aim them, but their G-d changes their path in midair.”

An Israeli Iron Dome operator said he witnessed “the hand of G-d” diverting an incoming Hamas rocket into the sea. The commander claims that the divine intervention stopped the death of hundreds of Israeli citizens. The commander recalled, “A missile was fired from Gaza. The Iron Dome precisely calculated its trajectory. We know where these missiles are going to land down to a radius of 200 meters. This particular missile was going to hit either the Azrieli Towers, the Kirya (Israel’s equivalent of the Pentagon) or [a central Tel Aviv railway station]. Hundreds could have died.”

“We fired the first [interceptor]. It missed. Second [interceptor]. It missed. This is very rare. I was in shock… with just four seconds until the missile landed we warned emergency services to be on standby. Suddenly, Iron Dome showed a major wind coming from the east, a strong wind that sent the missile into the sea. We were all stunned. I stood up and shouted, ‘There is a G-d, I witnessed this miracle with my own eyes. It was not told or reported to me. I saw the hand of G-d send that missile into the sea.”

The Times of Israel reported that a senior officer in Israel’s army said that divine miracles protected his soldiers in the Gaza Strip. Givati Brigade commander Col. Ofer Winter said that he “witnessed a miraculous occurrence, the likes of which he had never seen before during his military career.” Winter indicated a predawn raid, which intended to use darkness as a cover, was delayed, forcing the soldiers to move toward their objective as sunrise approached, endangering them of being exposed at daybreak. Winter explained how the heavy fog quickly descended, shrouding their movements until their mission was accomplished.

“Suddenly a cloud protected us,” he said, “like clouds of glory,” referring to the clouds the Torah says guided the ancient Israelites as they wandered in the desert. Winter further said, “Only when the soldiers were in a secure position, the fog finally lifted…It really was a fulfillment of the verse ‘For the L-rd your G-d is the one who goes with you to give you victory’” (Deut. 20:4).

And just yesterday, a missile hit a home in Sderot and exploded. Miraculously, no one was home.

It’s amazing how much G-d loves His people and we feel it more in these times than in most. I’m sure many more such stories will come out in the weeks ahead.

Editor’s note: Mark Hillel Kunis is the rabbi at Congregation Shaarei Shamayim in Atlanta.