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I have never seen anything quite like it.
When October 7th rolled around and war began, the collective conscious of the nation wanted to do something. Wanted to figure out a way to help.
Some people’s roles were rather obvious.
Soldiers, the Backbone of the Nation
Our country is filled to the brim with soldiers and reservists, and they mobilized immediately to tackle the immense task set before them. They’re heroes, and they came in droves. Some volunteered to serve even though they were exempt, for an assortment of reasons. Some enlisted right away, despite never having intended to do so earlier. Some got on planes to make sure they were readily available for their reserve service.
The IDF is the backbone of the nation. It always has been.
But the IDF is all of us. It’s not just those currently serving or those who still get called in occasionally. It’s the scores who have served in the past. And its the extensive families of the soldiers, which essentially makes up the entire country. After October 7th you were either immersed in military efforts, or you were up late at night worrying about somebody who was.
But worry doesn’t help a nation.
The Collective Urge to Help
And there’s something so profound and beautiful about feeling millions of people collectively wanting to do something to help their homeland. Sitting at home and feeling bad about the world is not enough. Passing along videos and memes on Facebook is not enough. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was asking themselves, “What can I do?”
The first instinct is to fight. But what exactly does that mean? For a young soldier, it’s quite obvious. You’re part of a framework. You’re either being called to the frontlines, waiting to be called, or being utilized in some other fashion for the war efforts. Your soul belongs to the army and they will attempt to put you to work in the fashion they think will most benefit the nation. And they have been successfully keeping thousands of people busy.
But the country is filled with millions of others who are then left with multiple free hours in their days and no real idea of how to use that time. Do they just carry on with life as they had before? Or do they find where they fit into this incredible war effort?
It is neither logical nor practical for everyone to pick up a gun and some grenades and charge Gaza alongside young trained soldiers. The army has no need for a 50-year-old with a trick ankle who hasn’t exercised in over a decade to play GI Joe. They’ll get in the way and be more of a liability than an asset.
Money, the Old Faithful
So where does that leave said older gentleman?
At first, confused.
A nation of people who passionately cried on Facebook that they wanted to help, but had no idea what that meant. Sure, there were plenty of places seeking donations. But that was flawed on three levels.
First, not every one has the means to make a dent with their wallet.
Second, there were rumors galore of manipulative outlets not faithfully using such money.
Finally, donating doesn’t have the same air of utility as getting your hands dirty to truly make a difference. Rather, people craved immersing themselves in efforts that might directly make an impact on people’s lives.
At first, some efforts fell flat. There were too many people. It felt redundant. This is by no means a criticism. No one should ever be criticized for trying to help but not being needed. I went to drop off a bag of gluten-free food for soldiers with celiac. God bless the person who arranged that! When I arrived, I was the only person make a drop, and about twenty teenagers collecting.
Of course, they should all be praised for their efforts. And even more importantly, for their motivation. They were there to help. They weren’t playing video games or basketball or staying at home mocking their siblings. They were trying to make the world a better place.
But it’s still a small shame when a job that could be done by two people is done by twenty.
My People Found its Path
But Israel found its groove. And eventually people dug a little deeper, and everyone started realizing the infinite ways they could help. Moreover people started looking deep into themselves and tried to figure out their unique ways they could contribute to what was going on in the country.
The opportunities were far and wide.
There wasn’t just a war going on, and soldiers in need of assistance. There were wives at home with babies, alone and terrified with their husbands gone indefinitely. There were jobs impactful to everyone in the society that were currently not filled for an assortment of reasons. There were displaced communities, asked to leave their homes due to proximity to dangerous areas.
And it didn’t matter who you were or what skills you had. Everyone had a way they could help, and was looking for a way to do so.
And before you knew it, the society was at the best I’ve ever seen it. Imagine a world in which no one was seeking an advantage, but rather everyone was doing their part to make things better.Imagine a world in which no one was seeking an advantage, but rather everyone was doing their part to make things better. Click To Tweet
A Beautiful Nation, Going Above and Beyond
People were paying for soldiers’ food in grocery stores. Offering free massages for soldiers who were hurting when they got home. Or free therapy for the other kind of pain.
People were watching dogs for those displaced from their homes. And doing activities to keep their children happy and entertained.
They were delivering flowers to women whose husbands were away at war, who needed a pick me up. Who needed to feel normal.
The list is endless. And in a sea of misery, with some of the most horrifying reports covering the news, my feed was simultaneously covered with a society showing how much it cares. Showing how willing everyone is to make things better in times of need. Showing how capable we are of putting aside our differences when the going gets tough.
And how an entire nation was able to continuously ask itself, “What’s my part in making everything better?”
And then immediately went into action.
Am Yisrael Chai!