Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
917-446-2126  rablenblank@gmail.com
***Thursday October 19, 2023, Cheshvan 4, 5784***


Kiddush H

A special Mi Shebeirach from the  Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Benei Brak

Words of Emunah and Bitachon from a Chayal

“Am Yisrael Chai”

Personal Reflections

Link to the video of Oriya Goodman and her words of
Emunah and Bitachon can be found at the bottom of this article.

Link to the video with Benny Friedman “Am Yisrael Chai”
as seen on Yeshiva World and Utube can be found at the bottom of this article.


There are many organizations and private individuals who are doing remarkable acts of chesed for whatever is needed in Israel. Achdus from throughout Israel is so special. Even amongst the horrendous atrocities we have been learning about and the constant fear of missiles as well as the fear of terrorists lurking in the dark corners ready to attack, there have been tremendous stories of nisim veniflaos. Here in the USA, the achdus and immense solidarity of Jewish men, women and children of different facets of Judaism is truly wonderful.  There have been many acts of Kiddush H. One of the news reporters was interviewing a woman in Israel who was traveling by car to meet with United States Senator Chuck E. Schumer together with other elected officials to see and hear what happened and is presently happening. They wanted to speak to loved ones   who were victims of brutality by Hamas. This woman mentioned that her husband was in synagogue and her cell phone was off due to the Jewish Shabbat and Simchas Torah. After the Shabbat, she listened to several messages from her son who was critically wounded and part of his arm was torn off. She ultimately found out that her son was taken hostage. She spoke so eloquently with much gratefulness to President Biden who she had spoken to by phone and to all those in government and elected officials regardless of their political affiliations to help with their support and efforts. Senator Schumer recently spoke of his experiences having to rush to a bomb shelter. There have been missiles flying to all parts of Israel including Jerusalem. He proudly proclaimed of being the highest ranking Jewish Senator in the United States. The solidarity of elected officials throughout the United States is truly remarkable including support from many countries throughout the world. As a New Yorker, the support and solidarity from our United States Senator Chuck Schumer, Governor Kathy Hochul and in New York City where I reside, Mayor Eric Adams as well as many other elected officials deserve much praise.   

I have been stopped by strangers smiling and saying hello to me. I have had numerous people inquiring how I am doing and if I have relatives in Israel asking how they are doing. Someone posted flyers in my neighborhood of children, adults and the elderly who were kidnapped. A certain woman who works at a local Trader Joe who I speak to whenever I see her, came over to me recently and told me she was not a practicing Jew but she had to reach out to me to share her feelings about her fellow Jews in Israel. I told her we are all family regardless of one’s background. She was so taken by my words, connecting to her that we are all Jewish family made her feel very proud. She thanked me profusely for my kind words. One never knows the impact of our actions of kindness, of goodness, what we say and most of all, our sincerity from our heart. One day this week in a crowded elevator in the apartment building I live in, I noticed a delivery man with the Amazon logo on his jacket. He looked quite tired. I mentioned to him that he looks tired from his hard work. He responded that he was more than tired (bringing packages of different sizes and weights) and by the look on his face I could see how very tired he was. I mentioned to him that he should be well and take care of himself. His response in front of the other passengers in the elevator was that I was the first person to ever wish him well and be concerned about him. He thanked me and the others gave me a smile. We are all ambassador of H and of course Klal Yisrael. This is especially so if we are noticeably Jewish. Unfortunately, I am saddened to have read that certain countries are recommending not to be noticeably looking Jewish due to a hostile environment in various communities. 

The tremendous outpouring of public support, the asifahs throughout the United States have been unbelievable not only in synagogues but publicly as well. In Boro Park Brooklyn, NY, for instance parts of a major avenue and side streets were closed to accommodate the approximately 10, 000 who came to hear in Yiddish and English words of inspiration and the recitation of Tehillim and Tefilos. Included below is a copy from Matzav website of a special Mi Shebieirach the Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Benei Brak, Israel recited. 

“The Mi Shebeirach for Soldiers Recited by the Vizhnitzer Rebbe
Matzav October 15, 2023 2:15 PM

“The Vizhnitzer Rebbe of Bnei Brak, Rav Yisroel Hager, recited a special mi shebeirach on Shabbos at the Vizhnitzer Beis Midrash in Bnei Brak for the Israeli soldiers, the sick, and the hostages, using the tefillah composed by Rav Menachem Mendel Gefner.

The mi shebeirach was written 75 years ago and was recited by the Tchebiner Rov and Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer:

The mi shebeirach starts: “May He who blessed our forefathers, Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov, bless and safeguard and assist and protect and save all our brethren, the House of Yisroel, who are in the battlefield against the enemies of Yisroel. As the entire congregation blesses them and prays for them, in merit of this, may the Holy One, blessed be He, watch over and save them from all harm, and cause nations to fall before them.”

Here is the full mi shebeirach:

מי שברך אבותינו אברהם יצחק ויעקב, הוא יברך וישמור ויעזור ויגן ויושיע לכל אחינו בית ישראל, העומדים במערכה מול שונאי ישראל, בעבור שכל הקהל מברכים אותם ומתפללים בעדם. בשכר זה הקבה ישמרם ויצילם מכל רע, וידבר עמים תחתם, ורדפו מהם חמשה מאה ומאה מהם רבבה ירדופו, ובכל אשר יפנו יצליחו, ונפלו אויבינו לפניהם לחרב, וישובו לשלום לאהליהם. להחלימם, לרפאותם, להחזיקם ולהחיותם, וישלח להם רפואה שלמה מן השמים לכל איבריהם וגידיהם בתוך שאר חולי ישראל, רפואת הנפש ורפואת הגוף, השתא בעגלא ובזמן קריב ונאמר אמן. ומי מהם שנפל בשבי, הקבה ימלא רחמים עליהם ויתנם לרחמים לפני שוביהם, ויוציא ממסגר אסיר, ויקרא לשבויים דרור ולאסורים יפקח קוח, וישיבם לבתיהם בשלום במהרה, אמן” {Matzav.com}

Also on Matzav October 16, 2023 was a video recording from Oriyah Goodman a chayal from the IDF’s Spokesperson Unit who shared some very meaningful thoughts for all of Klal Yisrael. She learns from the Sefer Shaar Habitachon by Rabeinu Bechaya . She mentioned the third chapter gives five different factors how to strengthen our bitachan in H. This war is being fought by all of Klal Yisrael. She shared the importance of Torah learning, tzedakah, the packages being sent to Israel, the importance of emunah, bitachon and our relationship with H to help win this war.  A link to her presentation can be found at the bottom of this article. 

In the video “Am Yisrael Chai” featuring Benny Friedman, truly shows Am Yisrael Chai in many remarkable ways. The achdus, the increase in learning Torah, Tehillim, Tefilos, of making, distributing and wearing Tzitzis and the outpouring of gemilus chasadim is phenomenal. I also read that all restaurants wanting to send food to the chayalim had to meet specific requirements of kashruth and the owners wanted to ensure their kitchens were kosher enough. This war is not about just waving the Israeli flag, not just about being a proud Israeli, but being a proud Jew with an increased kesher and love of the Ribono shel Olam. 

The New Release : “Am Yisrael Chai” featuring Benny Friedman, produced by Doni Gross in conjunction with R’ Shai Graucher and Standing Together/Chessed V’ Rachamim as seen on Yeshiva World and Utube. The link to this video can be found at the bottom of this article. 

This past Shabbos at the Bialystoker Synagogue, I was requested to lead the mispallim with the recitation of Tehillim. I must say, I had to hold back tears when reciting the words knowing they are for our brothers and sisters throughout Israel, for the Chayalim- the IDF, for all those who have been injured, for the hostages and for the loved ones of the victims. We should also be mindful and grateful for all of our friends who are helping to support and defend all of Israel and are not of the Jewish faith.

In my recent article, I mentioned how we must convey to all of our mispallim, their families, our own families and to all who we minister to as Rabbis, Rebbetzins and Chaplains the importance of loving kindness, of goodness, caring for each other, our children of all ages, our spouses, our friends and neighbors. Most of all, to be sincere and with hearts of gold. 

Speaking of being ambassadors of H Yisbarach and of our fellow Jews, I took tremendous pride when I wore the police uniform as a New York City Housing Authority Police Chaplain wearing the Ten Commandments on my lapels in addition to my Inspector insignias and my yarlmuka. I was also very proud wearing my yarlmuka working as a chaplain and pastoral care specialist. I have always taken pride in being able to be Mekadeish H and never having to compromise my Yiddishkeit. I was also very proud working together with and collaborating with many Jewish and non Jewish men and women, professionals in my other positions other than chaplaincy, having an impact with the various programs and presentations I did throughout NYC in my diverse capacities. Many of those programs, presentations and positions were not just for the Jewish community, but with the secular and non Jewish communities dealing with community, mental health and other aspects of life. Wherever I went, including having given presentations at NYU, Pace and other universities on various topics, I always felt proud  of who I am.  Unfortunately, the climate has changed in many ways. Nevertheless, we should still remain vigilant in being who we are and not lowering our standards of Judaism, of our Yiddishkeit. We are mispallel that Moshiach will come soon. We are mispallel that we should have Shalom al Yisrael and be cognizant of how much Chavarim al Yisrael and Am Yisrael Chai means to us. We are mispallel that all of Klal Yisrael will continue to develop and have a close relationship with H Yisbarach through our Torah and our mitzvos as we see happening right now in Israel. H loves us and the Torah is His gift to us. We are all here for each other. Our achdus is with true friendship and good feelings towards each other. With our emunah, our hope, our faith in H and with our bitachon, our trust in H, we can put down hatred and any animosities, and as the dove returned to Noah with an olive leaf in his beak, the sign of peace, everything is possible. 

I have recommended in the past and continue to do so, for everyone who might not know all the translations and even if one does know the translation to use a Siddur or Tehillim with the translations. Even better, to read when the opportunity avails the commentaries of the Tehillim and Tefilos. Here are two tefilos with tremendous meanings. Modim Anachnu Lach. Translation from the Artscroll Siddur Mesorah Publications Ltd. the last few sentences “We shall thank You and relate Your praise, for our lives, that are committed into Your hands and for our souls that are entrusted to You; and for Your miracles that every day are with us; and for Your wonders and favors that are at all times evening, morning and afternoon. The Beneficent One, for never exhausted are Your compassions, and the Compassionate One, for never ended are Your kindnesses always- have we put our hope.” 

“Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael” Our brothers, the entire House of Israel, who are found in distress and captivity, who are situated whether at sea or whether on land may the Omnipresent One have mercy on them and remove them from distress to relief, from darkness to light, from subjugation to redemption, now, speedily, and at a time that comes soon and let us say Amein.”  

Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank

Please click here for the video of the presentation by Oriyah Goodman,
a Chayal from the IDF Spokesperson Unit.

Please click here for the video “Am Yisrael Chai.”