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“I Vowed To Put On Tefillin So Why Did Hashem Take My Arm?”

Moshe Levy, a successful Israeli businessman and philanthropist, is also an Israeli hero who is only one of 40 Israelis to receive a Medal of Valor, the IDF’s highest honor, for his heroic actions in Sinai during the Yom Kippur War.

Moshe was the commander of a company in the Sinai that was called to help free Israeli soldiers trapped by an Egyptian ambush. But when his tank and others arrived, they came under heavy Egyptian attack. Moshe stuck his arm out of the tank to return fire and a rocket hit him, cutting off his right arm. Certain he wouldn’t survive, Moshe decided to at least attack the enemy before he died. Unable to shoot his Uzi gun and with his arm bleeding profusely, he grabbed a grenade with his left hand, approached the Egyptian position until he was only ten meters away, pulled the pin with his teeth, and threw the grenade. The grenade killed the Egyptians but also rebounded and hit Moshe in the face and chest. And as he staggered back to his tank dripping in blood, he was hit by an Egyptian bullet in his back. When medics arrived, Moshe told them to treat his soldiers first.

Moshe miraculously survived his severe injuries although the Egyptian bullet remains lodged in his body until this day.

Prior to the incident in which he was injured, Moshe and his comrades, who were far outnumbered by the Egyptian soldiers and tanks, came under an Egyptian attack. Moshe’s friend Avner Zadani, H’yd, took out a Sefer Tehillim, and said: “With this, we’ll stop the tanks.” The other soldiers were inspired and put their helmets on and joined in by saying Amen [not realizing that Amen wasn’t said after reciting Tehillim]. The ruchniyus of the moment prompted Moshe to say to his friend: “If I come out of this war alive, I’ll put on tefillin every day.”

Zadani was killed during the war. As Moshe recovered, the question continuously plagued him of why his friend who had inspired the soldiers to do teshuvah, was killed, and he, who had vowed to put on tefillin, lost his right arm. And as Moshe said: “I didn’t receive a satisfactory answer from any of the Rabbanim I spoke to.”

After eight months in the hospital, the IDF sent Moshe to the US to be fitted for a prosthesis. While he was in NY, the director of the Defense Ministry’s office called him and said: “The Rebbe wants to see you.” Moshe, not knowing who the Rebbe was, said: “I don’t have time.”

Moshe was convinced to meet the Rebbe and during their meeting, he presented his question. The Rebbe said. “It’s simple. Zadani was born in order to be mechazeik you and the other soldiers. He completed his mission and returned his neshamah to the Creator. You were supposed to die. But you vowed to put on tefillin every day if you live and that connected you to Hashem. Hashem took your arm that puts on tefillin in order that you’ll understand that you don’t become close to Hakadosh Baruch Hu through actions but through “והאבת את ה’ אלקך בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאודך.”

“I felt the Koach Elyon of the Rebbe,” Moshe said. “It was after the war. I didn’t know what I was going to do without a right arm, I was a righty. I asked the Rebbe: ‘Am I going to succeed in life?’ He looked at me and smiled and said: ‘You’ll be very successful.'”

“The Borei Olam heard his voice.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

5 Responses

  1. “you don’t become close to Hashem through actions.”

    Mesilas yeshorim perek 1 – the ONLY way to be close to Hashem is by DOING mitzvos and avoiding averos.

    Ramban, zohar, mitzvos are “tzavsa”, connection, they connect us with Hashem.

    The Lubavitcher rebbes philosophical waxing is incorrect.

  2. And thus answer from the Lubavitcher rebbe clearly did not succeed in making this man religious, or even making him refrain from saying shem Hashem levatalah.

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