During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, a detachment of Syrian soldiers surprisingly surrendered to IDF soldiers on the Golan Heights, even though the Syrians far outnumbered the Israelis. During the interrogation of the captured soldiers, the commanders of the Syrian forces were asked why they had surrendered. The Israeli interrogators were astounded when the captives answered that they had seen “small black boxes” on the foreheads of a few Israeli soldiers and were afraid that this was a new secret and lethal weapon that the IDF had developed.
In a way, the Syrians were right – the black boxes were a secret weapon, but not exactly a new one. The power of the mitzvah of tefillin is mentioned in the Torah itself. “וְרָאוּ כָּל-עַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ, כִּי שֵׁם ה’ נִקְרָא עָלֶיךָ; וְיָרְאוּ, מִמֶּךָּ.” -“And all the people of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and will be afraid of you.” (Devarim 28:10) The Talmud explains that “you are called by the name of the Lord” refers to the tefillin – when Hashem’s name is worn by a Jew (on the parchment inside the tefillin), this causes the enemy to be afraid.
At Or Lachayal we understand the great importance of the mitzvah of tefillin and are planning to provide 10 pairs of high quality mehudar tefillin to every synagogue in the IDF. Thus even soldiers who do not have their own tefillin can fulfill the mitzvah.
We are also planning to distribute free sets of mehudar tefillin to any needy or lone soldier who cannot afford to buy his own tefillin.
(Project goal – 5,000. Project cost – $2,250,000. $450 per unit)
Barbecue for the Soul
There is no doubt that the isolation from family and the distance from home are the biggest hardship in the army. For this very reason Or Lachayal addresses this issue also, and each week goes out to the soldiers in the field, to bring fun, joy and a lot of good food to combat battalions in the border zones, who are protecting us from our enemies. In order to raise their morale and let them forget their daily troubles for a little while, Or Lachayal organizes evening events with good food, particularly barbecues, and with music, which are food for the soul.
These events are meticulously planned down to the last detail, with a generous variety of grilled meats, an array of salads, baked goods, desserts and beverages. The musical accompaniment and entertainment include bands, karaoke and/or a stand-up comedian. Our teams arrive with all the equipment they need, including grills, waiters and volunteers who serve the soldiers, for the best possible atmosphere of “home hospitality.”
Like all our other activities, our mobile barbecue teams go to IDF camps from the north to the south of the country, visiting training bases, distant outposts, assembly points and firing zones. There is no place that is not visited, both during routine training periods and during wartime.
Barbecue for the Soul is our flagship project and is very popular among the soldiers. These relaxing evenings bring the soldiers together and increase their sense of unity and camaraderie.
A donation of just $18 will enable us to invite one more soldier to a barbecue evening.
(Project goal – 66,000 soldiers per year. Project cost – $1,000,000. $7,500 per 500 soldiers; $15 per soldier)