As the war continues, more and more horrific stories of pain and suffering emerge R”l, but there are also stories of Yidden in Eretz Yisroel who are becoming stronger and prouder. These people gathered the strength, during such a difficult time, to make real changes in their lives.
By Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier – The Beis Medrash
When Reb Meir Shapiro started making plans to build his famous yeshiva in Lublin, someone doubted him for taking on this impossible task. Reb Meir quoted a passuk in this week’s sedra where Hashem took Avraham Avinu outside and said: “Please look heavenward and count the stars, if you are able to. That is how [many] your descendant will be.”
The simple meaning is that the Yidden will be as many as the stars, but Reb Meir interpreted it this way: Counting the stars is an impossible task. Your children will take on impossible tasks for Me, and they’ll succeed.
Our very existence is an impossibility according to nature, and yet we are here. And there are times when our impossible strength surfaces and shines more brightly than ever.
Now is such a time.
As the war continues, more and more horrific stories of pain and suffering emerge R”l, but there are also stories of Yidden in Eretz Yisroel who are becoming stronger and prouder.
People who grew up knowing nothing about Yiddishkeit have now begun keeping Shabbos, putting on tefillin or dressing more modestly. People who once knew little of Hashem and His Torah now openly display the highest level of emunah and bitachon. Those who misunderstood frumeh Yidden for years now admire them and go out of their way to help them.
These people gathered the strength, during such a difficult time, to make real changes in their lives.
Where do I stand?
I am lucky to have been raised in a frum, chassidishe home and attend a cheder. I grew up keeping Shabbos and donning tefillin since my bar mitzvah and I take for granted my belief in Hashem. Nonetheless, I am humbled by these Yidden and inspired to take a sharper look at myself and make real improvements in my Yiddishkeit.
If they can resolve to close their business on Shabbos, I can decide to stop talking narishkeit or money matters on Shabbos. I can commit to having more kavanah when I’m wearing tefillin. Or, to go out of my comfort zone and offer a fellow Yid to don tefillin. I can work on strengthening my emunah and bitachon in Hashem and to learning more of His Torah. And I can go out of my way to love a fellow Yid and make amends where necessary.
The Baal Shem Tov says that Yidden are compared to the stars because, like stars, they look small from afar, but are so much larger up close. Just a few weeks ago, these neshamos may not have seemed to be shining so brightly. But that’s just because their essence was far away. Today, we can see their pinteleh Yid up close, and it’s shining brilliantly. It is guiding us all.
As the Rebbe writes:
“Yidden are likened to stars that sparkle in the heavens. Thanks to their light, even a person walking in the darkness of night will not err. Every Yid, man or woman, has the moral and spiritual power to become a source of influence for his friends and associates, and to situate them in a ray of light.”
The Frierdiker Rebbe writes  that just as stars seem small and inconsequential when situated alone in the vast night sky yet shine brightly when clustered in a galaxy, Yidden, too, shine much brighter when gathered in unity. When Yidden encourage each other to improve in matters of Torah and mitzvos, we become a force to be reckoned with.
Hashem’s promise to Avraham Avinu was that our galus will eventually end and we’ll have the ultimate end to all pain and suffering with the coming of Moshiach. We are witnessing the promise of the stars being fulfilled; now may Hashem complete His promise by bringing Moshiach now.
 Baal Shem Tov Al HaTorah
 Hayom Yom, the 5th of Cheshvan
 Igros Kodesh vol 14 pg. 9
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