“Therefore do the Yehudim of the villages, that dwell in the unwalled towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, and a good day, and of sending portions one to another.” Esther 9:19 (The Israel Bible™)
It’s almost Purim, the joyous festival celebrating God’s miraculous deliverance of the People of Israel from their enemies. The story tells that the Persian Empire’s anti-Semitic ruler, Haman, wanted to annihilate the Jewish people. Esther courageously stepped up and defended her people, foiling Haman’s plans.
This year, Purim will be celebrated from Wednesday evening, March 20th to Thursday evening, and in Jerusalem from Thursday to Friday evening. In Israel and around the world on Purim, it is a tradition to dress up. Many children dress up as the protagonists of the Purim story and sometimes, they dress up as superheroes. But the soldiers of the IDF need not dress up as superheroes – by putting on their uniform and taking on their real-life role as defenders of Israel and the Jewish people, they have proven themselves as superheroes already.
“In every generation, there are those who threaten the existence of the Nation of Israel – including both ‘lone-wolf’ Palestinian terrorists and formal terror organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah (backed by the modern incarnation of Persia, Iran),” Dr. John A.I. Grossman, Chairman of LIBI USA, the official welfare fund of the IDF, said to Breaking Israel News. “Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide if he or she will stand up, as Queen Esther did, on behalf of Israel. Today, these individuals are embodied in the soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces,” he added. “Saying thank you to such soldiers is the least we can do.”
Day in and day out, the soldiers of the IDF put their lives on the line to protect the men, women and children of Israel. While Israelis celebrate, IDF soldiers stand guard to ensure Israel’s safety. “While we are all celebrating on Purim, the IDF doesn’t take a break,” related Rabbi Tuly Weisz, Director of Israel365 and publisher of The Israel Bible and Breaking Israel News. “We will be at synagogue and they will be on their base. We will be at a Purim carnival and they will be in their tanks.”
Weisz noted the great challenge yet importance of Israel’s soldiers “setting aside their own well-being with great courage on behalf of Israel,” and deemed them reminiscent of Mordechai and Esther risking their own lives and demonstrating tremendous bravery on behalf of the Jewish people.
“During the days of Esther and Mordechai – the Jews were physically defenseless, as we were throughout our history,” said Weisz. “Today, we are blessed to have a strong army defending the Jewish people, and on Purim, we should give thanks to our soldiers for keeping us safe.”
As such, LIBI USA is continuing in its tradition of providing IDF soldiers with mishloach manot (traditional Purim care packages) for the holidays, as well as support, education and assistance to help ease the burden of their service. LIBI will bring the care packages to soldiers at army bases and checkpoints throughout the country.
“By sending mishloach manot to our soldiers we are showing them we care and that we appreciate their service,” said Weisz. In the past, when he handed out mishloach manot to soldiers, Weisz reported, “for the most part, the soldiers are always at first a little shy about receiving gift packages. They never feel that they deserve anything special.” However, he continued, “whenever we explain that our gifts are on behalf of friends and supporters of the Israeli army from all over the world, they quickly become very moved and appreciative of the support they receive.”
Concluded Weisz, “We always tell them that since they pledged to support us, we pledge to support them and that they are always in our hearts (“LIBI”) – and especially on Purim.
Written in collaboration with LIBI USA