Friday, 27 October, 2023 - 4:34 am

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

I have received so many uplifting comments to my Israel report.

(Some people told me that it went to their promotion folders. Click here to read my ‘Personal regards from Israel’ email).

Just to share a few:

…. These are unusual times in many ways and the only thing we can do is help (we have given our apartment in Herzelyia to a Kibbutz family we don't even know, who lost their entire house)...

Someone else shared this morning:

After one more evening of rockets attacking the Tel Aviv area :-(

Yes, we are utilizing every capability to help the needy, our condo which is also a partial hotel is sheltering 10s of families from the south with support of food, clothing and more...

and yes … is helping with her mentoring/coaching abilities but also preparing food...

I know many Israelis who usually travel a lot either for business or leisure who have cancelled plans and are staying in Israel to be there with their families and with our people.

It is not ‘life as usual’ on the one hand.

Yet on the other hand it is important to be doing what you ought to be doing. Becoming an inactive ‘couch potato’ glued to the screen and the news is certainly not the way we should be living now. It is not helpful to anyone.

One of my dear friends, whose mother was a Holocaust survivor, responded to my email with a line that I think contains the message for our times.

Unity. We are finished without that.

Everyone has a job to do and everybody has to get their job right and comfort is not part of the equation.

Spot on to coincide with this week’s parsha which is ‘Lech Lecha’. Literally translated ‘go, you’.

The instruction to Avraham the first Jew was to go from your land, from your birthplace and from your father's house … to the land that I will show you (Israel).

Further on in this weeks parsha the ‘Abrahamic Covenant’ is described. This is where G-d gave as Israel as an eternal inheritance to the people of Israel

There are two parts to the Abrahamic covenant:

Abraham’s descendants (also known as the Hebrews, the Israelites or the Jewish people) would be enslaved and eventually redeemed.

They would forever inherit the Land of Canaan.

The first half of the promise was fulfilled when the children of Israel were subjugated in the land of Egypt. The second half was mostly fulfilled when Joshua conquered and settled most of the land promised to Abraham. Although the Jewish people were later exiled, it was promised to us as an eternal heritage. We hope and pray for that promise to be fulfilled in its entirety when we return to the land with its extended borders as promised to Abraham, with the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days.

Click here for the full article

The name of the parsha says it all.

GO .

Going requires effort.

Staying, is easier. More comfortable.

The very first communication that Hashem had with the very first Jew spelled out the eternal mission of the Jew.

GO .

Don’t stay in your comfort zone.

Put forth effort.

Avraham fulfilled the ‘go’ instruction to its extreme.

He stood up single-handedly against the idolatrous practices of his times.

The Midrash describes Avraham as being a lone voice of moral clarity against an entire world that sought to have him declared deranged and deluded.

The world was comfortably vested in the polytheistic approach to life.

Monotheism was a radical departure from societal norms.

Things haven’t changed much in the thousands of years since Avraham.

The G-dly instruction to ‘GO’ is still as relevant now as it was then.

This is the destiny of the Jew.

To constantly aim and strive for the next level.

If you follow the history of the Jewish people, you will see that this restless spirit within them always catapults them to the front of literary and scientific achievement as well as being outstanding in their charitableness.

‘Lech Lecha’!

This is who we are, and this is how we must live our lives if we wish to fulfil our mandate.

Putting forth effort is the Jewish mandate.

It is not always so easy to put forth effort. We are also endowed with a negative inclination that tries to steer us off course. It lures us away from exertion and convinces us that we should ‘take it easy’.

During some periods in history, we get the chance to take it a little easy.

(The heinous pogrom on Simchas Torah teaches us that when it comes to matters of security our guard can not be down for even one second.

I wish this weren’t true but tragically we have been brutally reminded ).

As Jews we sometimes have peaceful and prosperous eras when antisemitism seems like its dwindling, Israel is peaceful, and the world is busy with other crises and not spending all their time judging our nation with libelous double standards.

Then there are other times when the ‘Lech Lecha’ instruction becomes highlighted to the extreme.

Like in today’s day and age.

To be a Jew today means that you must put forth effort.

For some, it means the efforts they are making to stay in Israel, with all the stressful aspects and apparent danger (I say ‘apparent’, as in years past the Rebbe always reminded us that Israel is the safest place in the world for Jews).

For others it means not to cancel plans of visiting Israel.

For Jews in the Diaspora I would suggest that it means not giving in to the nervous thoughts that may be going through your mind and hiding in fear from engaging in Jewish life.

(In all of my above statements I am not giving instructions to you about what to do as an individual. That would be presumptuous and irresponsible. Every person must responsibly assess their situation and preferably discuss it with a trusted and sensible friend. I am sharing a perspective).

Step up to the plate and own your identity.

Being a Jew today is an undertaking.

It is a statement.

There are so many in world today who are misled by the propaganda of our enemies, and who don’t see the clarity of the situation and thus look at us Jews in an unfair and unethical way.

You can try to hide but you will likely not succeed.

The outside world looks at you and sees you as a Jew. In some places and during peaceful times that may earn you respect, in other places and during turbulent times you may be ridiculed or even worse, attacked.

At least, if you are being singled out for your Jewishness, you should know what it means to be a Jew.


Study some Torah. Observe a mitzvah. Upgrade your moral code to be in sync with Hashem.

(It would be helpful during these trying times when Israel is at the center of everyone’s attention, to read this article entitled ‘22 Facts about the land of Israel ever Jew should know’. It will provide you with some important background).

As an adult Jew, chances are that you grew up in a Jewish environment have had some kind of Jewish experience in your childhood.

Let us take a moment to focus on the kids that grows up in a place like Thailand where there is a smaller Jewish community. Can you imagine what it must be like for a kid who goes to an international school and gets taunted or cursed for being Jewish? The child many not even know what being Jewish means.

This is the time for investing in instilling Jewish identity into our children.

This kids-oriented website is a good repository of material.

(Here in Bangkok, we have a weekend Hebrew school for Jewish children. Contact me for more info).

My friend, this is not a time to stay in our comfort zones.

Our soldiers are away from their homes and risking their lives, may Hashem protect them.

The people living in Israel are living on edge and actively involved in helping each other make it through this catastrophe.

We, who live outside Israel need to make sure that we don’t remain in our comfort zone.

What should we do?

For the ‘longer answer’ Check out an article that I liked by R’ Greenbaum from Melbourne.

In short:

Be proudly and joyously Jewish.

Practice compassion with others.

Lay Tefilin for the security of us all.

Add light by lighting Shabbat candles this afternoon before sundown.

Make extra prayers.

Give extra Tzedaka.

Don’t ‘couch potato’ and sit by the sidelines.

You are a descendant of Avraham to whom G-d said ‘GO’ = Put forth effort.

This is a time for even extra effort.

More prayer. More Torah. More goodness and kindness. More Mitzvahs.


May Hashem bless us with secure peace, the coming home of our hostages, the safety or our soldiers, the healing of our wounded, and peace and serenity for all of the humane and good people of our world.

it is our fervent prayerful hope that Mashiach’s arrival which will herald in the end of war, sickness, greed and pain for eternity will happen imminently.

However, even if for some unknown reason the coming of Mashiach doesn’t come first, we pray for immediate blessedness as soon as possible.


Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

PS the ‘Thailand Unity Torah’ is being written in Israel. It was started in Thailand and the final letters will be inscribed in Thailand. It is a very special protective mitzvah to buy a letter or a whole parsha in the Torah. Click here to be part of this special mitzvah. Sponsor a letter for yourself, for a loved one, for a soldier or someone who needs healing. Your participation will make it a reality please G-d.

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