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Chesed Hallmark of the Jewish nation

Rav David Lhungdim

One thing that will always keep Israel's morale high despite the horrific horrors it witnesses throughout the globe: is its unity. When the world saw Hamas' homicidal activities on October 7, they did not condemn them; instead, they accused Israel of war crimes.

If we had trust in the creator, we would have nothing to fear since the nation of Israel is the chosen nation, and their hate for Israel is a blessing in disguise because it keeps Israel away from imitating their behavior.

Our sages equate Israel to a sheep grazing calmly in the middle of a wolf pack. Hadrianus Caesar once stated, "Such is the strength of one sheep standing among seventy wolves," to which Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi answered, "Great is the shepherd who protects the flock from them." (Midrash Tankhuma, Toldot 5).

On further reflection, like Hadrianus the entire world believes that the status of a lone sheep (Israel) is determined by its strength, but Rabbi Yehoshua corrected and stated that it is determined by the shepherd, who protects it from the pack of wolves.

Rabbi Yehoshua Halevi's teachings can only be realized if we are aware of and comprehend the teachings of our sages, which is why one of the renowned 16th-century great Rabbi Maharal of Prague explains and quotes the well-known passage from the Zohar that reads, "The nation of Israel, the Torah, and God are one."

There are significant ramifications for the close relationship between these three institutions. According to the Maharal, the Torah itself becomes divided if there is disunity among the Jewish people. The Torah itself is compromised if we cannot agree upon something. Stated differently, accepting the Torah requires unity. For the Torah to be fully revealed to the world, the Jewish people needed to unify.

Above left to right: (1) Ordan in charge of Sderoth residents in Grand Court Hotel, (2) Benei Menashe Community receiving parcel boxes containing jackets for gifts, (3) Golan Hangshing Family with Jackets they receive from Kehilat HaRambam.

Below left to right: (1) Enosh secretary of Bnei Menashe Sderoth Receiving parcel boxes, (2) Mili Khaute with Kehilath HaRambam members Miriam and her friends. (3) Amiel Haokip family receiving the jackets from Kehilat HArambam

We can only attain unity if we create room for one another. This entails overcoming our ego, rising above ourselves, and cultivating the ability to comprehend, forgive, and compassionately interact with people around us. This self-transcendence imbues us with holiness and magnificence; it makes us Godly and unites us as one, as a united people ready to embrace the Divine gift of the Torah.

In Jerusalem, I witnessed a lot of unity from various perspectives and it gives immense joy to see such unity before my eyes even though I'm displaced from my beloved city Sderoth because of the war.

One of these instances was when I got a call from Ordan, he was in charge of the Sderoth residents at the Grand Court Hotel. He told me that he needed a list of the sizes of jackets for all the Bnei Menashe residents in Sderoth, as Kehilat HaRambam wanted to donate to the Bnei Menashe Community. We did receive the gift from Kehilat HaRambam through Yael who brought the gifts up to the place where we stayed in the Jerusalem hotel. And the Jackets were later distributed by Mili Khaute a Bnei Menashe member from Sderot.

Moti a Jerusalem resident who works with various organizations called me again, this time asking me to let him know if someone had not received the jacket, He also added that there is no place for embarrassment because our main goal is for everyone to receive the gifts.

Left to right: (1) Yael from Kehilat HaRAmbam who brought the Jackets up to Olive Tree Hotel, (2) Moti a Jerusalem resident who actively helps the displaced from southern and northern Israel, (3) A Nedarim card distributed by Moti to help the displaced Bnei Menashe and residents of Southern and Northern Israel who are evacuated to various Hotels in Jerusalem.

When we arrived at the Hotel Olive Tree following the horrifying event on October 7th, still unsure of what would happen to us, Moti said he would like to help the community and asked for a list of community members. Two weeks later, he distributed 1600 shekel to those with children. That was the first time I ever met Moti.

Furthermore, he donated gifts for Chanukah. His philanthropic gestures were appreciated by all the communities impacted by the terrible violence that tore through the southern and northern parts of Israel.

Additionally, I got a call from Tzvi Golwag, a generous individual, who expressed interest in offering Talmud Daf Hayomi to our community so that our Avrekhim and Bachurim could benefit from studying Gemara Daf Hayomi. I enjoyed seeing 20 sets of Daf Yomi from the tractate Bava Kama, which I gave to Avrekhim and Bachurim, who were happy to receive such a Gemara from the Schotteinstein (Arts scroll) publication.

Pic: Learning Gemara Daf Yomi from the books donated by Tzvi Golwag.

Apart from the Jewish standpoint, there exist other nations from Chasidei Umoth Haolam that also shared the hardships of the Jewish people during this turbulent time.

I was introduced to the group "Operation Blessing" by Dayan Moshe, the manager of the Rewire company in Israel a man who wish to help our community without boundary, and Deby Deborah Macling, the Philippine community manager of Rewire, who assisted the Team of "Operation Blessing" in interacting with various communities. The group assisted the Jewish community in Israel by sharing their grief and providing gifts and food.

It should be noted that the relationship between the state of Israel and the Philippines does not begin on a single day; it dates back to World War II, when the Jewish nation faced the horrific holocaust perpetrated by the Nazis, and Jews faced a lot of discrimination and antisemitism in Europe; it was during this time of critical adversity that a legendary name was born in the Philippines.

Moshe Dayan Indian Jews Manager of Rewire company in Israel. 2. with a team of Operation Blessing from the Philippines led by Gigi Endaya.

President Manuel L. Quezon, who was in office at the time, made an exceptional move to open the door for Jewish people in the Philippines who were facing expulsion from every country.

In 2015, President Manuel L. Quezon received the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation Medal posthumously for his Open-door policy, in recognition of such a deed of charity. His daughter, Nini Quezon-Avancen, accepted the accolade.

To honor Manuel L. Quezon's open-door policy, monuments have been erected. The Holocaust Memorial Park in Rishon Lezion, Israel, hosted the unveiling of the Open Doors monument in 2009. The monument's design was the National Commission for Culture and the Arts' winning submission in a 2007 competition. Jun Yee was the maker.

A monument honoring Israel-Philippines connections was also erected in 2018 in the Philippine-Israel Friendship Park, which is part of the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. The monument included a relief that showed the plan. Another justification for the visa-free entry of Filipino nationals into Israel is Quezon's policy.

The UN Resolution 181, which called for the creation of a Jewish State in 1947, was approved by the Philippines vote. The Philippines was the only Asian nation to vote in favor of the resolution, and it was one of the 33 nations that backed Israel's creation.

This Philippine group of "Operation Blessing", led by Gigi Endaya, was a global organization in scope and is part of CBN.

After an hour of exchanging knowledge and cultural insights, they asked me about the stark contrasts between our two faiths. I answered that when discussing faith and religion, we should do so intellectually rather than emotionally because religion is a susceptible subject because different faiths will contradict one another.

Whatever our personal beliefs, the most crucial thing is that we should try to live in harmony with one another and respect one another's morals without contradicting each other's religious convictions.

I wish to conclude by saying that may many people arise and stand up like the late Manuel L. Quezon and the Philippines team whom I met, and may the phrase "And I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse you, and all the families of the world shall be blessed in you". (Genesis 12:3) be speedily fulfilled in our days.






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