As it is Yom Hazikaron, the day when we remember those who have defended Israel, it's important for all of us to take some time out of the day to remember and learn about those who defended and continue to defend our people. I was moved by the above video about MaCHaL, a group of about 4,000 volunteers who went to Israel to fight during the War of Independence in 1948. So important was MaCHaL to the founding of the air force, in particular, that English and not Hebrew was actually the language of operation for the then-nascent Israeli airforce.
Watching the video, I was struck by two things in particular. Most heavily, I was first struck by the the power of just a few individuals. How just a handful of individuals, foreign volunteers no less, were able to to use leftover German plane parts, engage in risky combat tactics, and successfully hold off an Egyptian army of 10,000 is a testament to the Jewish spirit and the importance of what these men did. In a world where individuals are increasingly invisible and human contribution seems less and less valuable, this was a powerful and emotional reminder that the actions of each of us really do count; sometimes, small acts of heroism that go barely noticed in the fog of war change history dramatically for millions of people. Would we even have a state without the heroic actions of the pilots in the video? What if they hadn't gone to fight?
Second, there actions serve not only as a source of pride, but as a clarion call to each of us. What are we doing, what are we sacrificing to aide the survival and growth of our people? Though it's primarily a day to remember the sacrifices of others, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives, it's also a day to consider our own contributions and how we carry on the legacy we've inherited. Even if we're not fighting in the army, there are important things we can and should be doing for the Jewish people. As someone who does not live in Israel, it's all too easy for the national and familial bonds that holds us together to remain unrealized beneath the surface. These foreigners felt a sense of obligation to the Jewish people even from afar and acted on it. Query: What actions can we take, locally or nationally, for the benefit of the Jewish people?