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Wake Up Calls

“The British are coming. The British are coming!”

April 18, 1775. The midnight ride of Paul Revere. We all learned about it in American History class.

How exciting it must have been to be living at that time. The thought of gaining independence from our oppressive rulers and building a new country based on freedom and equality.

Oh, to be awakened at night for such a noble cause.

There have been other wake up calls throughout the long history of the world. Most of them not as nostalgic or hopeful as that by the young man from Boston with his horse and lanterns.
For example:

  • The sirens of Sderot warning the inhabitants of yet another rocket attack from Gaza.
  • The feared knock on the door of the KGB sending a loved one to Siberia.
  • The loudspeaker announcements of the oncoming SS guards sending families instantly into attics, basements and bunkers.
  • The call of the mob demanding justice for the innocent Christian boy slain by the blood sucking Jewish vermin.
  • The midnight conscription of young Jewish boys into the Czarist and Turkish armies for not less than 25 years to face their brutal anti-Semitism.

In truth, the Jews have not been the only ones subjected to terror or persecution although it seems that we have been singled out for far more than our share.
But there are others:

  • The average serf, fighting for survival against the prejudices and ignorance of their feudal lords.
  • The young, frightened, black youth chained to his neighbor as they are dragged onto a boat to become slaves in a far away country.
  • The men, women and children of Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, and so many other places, massacred for no reason other than being on the wrong side of a political storm.

And we, living in freedom, put our heads on our pillows each night knowing that after seven, eight or perhaps even nine hours we will awaken to the sound of the local news station, or our favorite song, or perhaps even our child’s voice as he anxiously waits to go to school or play.

Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l (of blessed memory), one of the giants of this generation stated, “The precious commodity of peaceful sleep requires payment, and the minimal payment is gratitude.

Modeh ani lefanechah. - I give thanks before You.

I will try today to be the best person I can. I will try, in my own way, to make this world just a little bit better. I will try to live my life in the manner in which You have required of me so that tonight, I can once again, lay my head on my pillow.  In peace.

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Comments icon August 16, 2009


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