I Have Seen Heroes

[Like Rav Aviner's popular song "A Slow Line Enters Gaza: A Song for Israeli Soldiers" – this article has also been made into a song by Elyon Shemesh. We are also hoping to record it professionally. If you are interested in supporting the studio time, the cost is $550. Please let me know if you are interested.]

I Have Seen Heros
[From the parashah sheet "Ma'ayanei Ha-Yeshua" – Parashat Shemot]

I have seen heroes.
I have seen a war break out on Chanukah, and the spirit of the Hasmoneans reawakened in young men now determined to wage war with amazing strength and faith. They do not make personal calculations; they are willing to sacrifice themselves.

I have seen soldiers committed to the mission, waging war with true courage; and even when their friends fall in battle, they do not stop for a moment, but say: "We are in the middle of the battle, and we must continue on and finish it."

I have seen a soldier say: "There is nothing to fear; we do what needs to be done. The individual is not important, only the national goal.

I have seen a unit of 120 soldiers, in which 116 were called and another 5 volunteered – including three newlyweds who did not want to forgo their responsibility. And including someone expelled from Gush Katif who had a heavy heart and they said to him: "You are not obligated to go," but he said: "Of course I am obligated."

I have seen soldiers fight with great effectiveness in a war in crowded, built-up areas, knowing that in a situation like this on a darkened night, it is impossible to be completely immune from the dangers of friendly fire, yet they understand that war is war and they march on.

I have seen a high-ranking officer says: "What was once done by an elite combat unit is now accomplished by a regular unit." I have seen an overwhelming response of 115% from those called up and even those who have not been called up, including deserters who begged to be forgiven, and then rejoin their units.

I have seen a soldier in the hospital who was wounded from head-to-toe and wanted to return to the battle and when they told him: "The next war." He stood firm and said: "Now!"

I have seen a mother whose son was killed in the last war who did not hesitate for an instant to consent that her other sons could join combat units.

I have seen soldiers volunteer for dangerous units. I have seen an officer sign up for the standing army, since this army is his supreme ideal. He believes in what he is doing, and his soldiers follow him.

I have seen an officer who was wounded in the face but continued to fight. He refused medical treatment, and he only agreed to go to the hospital after a few hours. He immediately returned to his unit, and said to the reporter: "Please do not turn this battle into a story of heroism. We are just doing what we have to do." I have seen a soldier who waged war like a lion, and when he was asked where he gets this strength, he responded: "From the Nation of Israel! Don't you know? This is a great generation!"

I have seen officers with great spirits who says: "The needs of the Nation are above our needs. We have received so much from the State, we are happy to give a little back. We are happy to worry about the national honor, to worry about our friends."

I have seen officers full of integrity, morality and gentleness.
There is no doubt, I have seen new souls.
There is no doubt, I have seen the Divine Presence returning within us.