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We remember our fallen Warriors of Israel today. We often say that they laid down their lives for us, but we must remember, they laid nothing down, nor would they kneel or run. They lost their lives fighting, charging forward gallantly… fighting for Victory, and for all of Us.

Our heroes are too many, thank Gd most of them have lived, fighting like lions the victory they sought achieved. As one of our commanders once famously told his victorious men as they reached the waters of the Suez, “We stared death in the eyes, and it turned its gaze”.

But so many, far too many, have paid the ultimate price, bravely, seemingly stoic, and as a matter-of-fact, they fought for Israel, for every Jew around the world, they did their duty. But they did not go gently nor willingly, as our foes well know, not wishing to give up all the beauty of life and the promise of the future while so often still in the flower of youth.

Gladly however, our heroes paid this price that their brothers next to them live, that their mothers and daughters back home know safety and freedom.

I hear a lot talk about them having fought for peace, from a lot of people that understandably don’t much about fighting and perhaps nor peace. Our heroes were not fighting for peace, and am not sure how one physically goes about that incredible feat of verbal gymnastics.

They fought for Am Israel, never letting our enemies defeat us, and bring upon us all the death and destruction that such a catastrophe would entail.

Let us remember them, all of those who have left us less without them, those who left us just this very year, as our enemies continue to do us harm, and those who left us years ago in our battles for existence and freedom. These battles did not start in 48, and our warriors go back through the millennia, be they Joab’s men, fierce Zealots and Maccabees, Warsaw Ghetto fighters, or underground soldiers of the Irgun (Etzel), Lehi, and the Haganah and Palmach. I stand humbled and in awe.

Let us remember always to carry them in our hearts, and let us honor them by gaining strength through their memories, and thus make clear that there are still many heroes in Israel.

May our enemies know that there are yet plenty of lions among the Judeans, and given the necessity and opportunity they will achieve the victory we so badly need, and that our heroes have already earned many times over. Then just maybe, we can have the peace we so much talk about.

And to close with something interesting I heard earlier today, in Israel, we have two memorial days very close to each other, followed by our Independence Day. In the first we remember the victims of the Shoah (holocaust), and today our fallen warriors.

They juxtapose the price we pay with and without a state, with and without our heroes.

וְהָיוּ כְגִבֹּרִים בּוֹסִים בְּטִיט חוּצוֹת, בַּמִּלְחָמָה, וְנִלְחֲמוּ, כִּי יְהוָה עִמָּם; וְהֹבִישׁוּ, רֹכְבֵי סוּסִים




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