A Soldier’s Journal: The First Shabbat in the War


All day Friday we trained and did exercises that were different from normal training. This time we understood the significance of the moment. We were motivated, and we didn’t let the sun get us down. We didn’t need to say much to each other; we were all here for one purpose.

Our daily schedule is very busy, from morning to night training, training, and more training. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining; everyone here is working with joy and a smile.

My beloved Shoham spoiled the entire company with challah and schnitzel that made us all feel at home. The gesture lifted our morale and reminded everyone of the families for whom we are fighting.

Before Shabbat, I called my parents to see how they were doing, to get updates on my father from the hospital, and just to talk and hear their voices for a few moments. My father guided me on how to keep Shabbat during a time of war and answered all of my halachic questions, even as he was lying in bed in the hospital.

On Friday night we had a Carlebach davening, and almost the entire company joined us. You should have heard all of Am Yisrael, including the chilonim, the Tel Avivians and left-wing kibbutzniks, singing Lecha Dodi together and shouting niggunim at the top of their lungs. Our enemy must see this unity and so must our leadership.

I am not exaggerating by saying that the Friday night tefillot here in the field with all those wearing uniforms suffused with purpose were even loftier than the tefillot on Yom Kippur at Yeshivat Sderot!

Shabbat morning. Exactly a week ago, my father went to battle in the streets of Sderot and was wounded, and the city was overwhelmed with horrific scenes and terrible news. But we must stand up and take revenge.

I want to strengthen the leadership of our city, Mayor Alon Davidi and his deputy, Elad Kalimi. Over the last week, I’ve heard from everyone about the holy work they are doing around the clock to evacuate residents, visit the wounded and to go to cemeteries to honor the fallen. Alon and Elad, you are our role models.

Even on Shabbat, we continue to train, to get comfortable with the armored vehicles and tanks that are assigned to our company and to arrange the equipment to the best of our ability.

From conversations with our company’s officers, we realize that we are heading into a long campaign of several months. No problem we are ready.

I have just one request from all of you before I finish. Preserve this unity, if not for you then for the soldiers in the field. This unity is the fuel that will take us through this war.

Don’t forget: only with unity and with strength will we win.


● This essay was originally published in Hebrew in Makor Rishon.


Dvir Sassi is a reserve soldier in the Harel Brigade. This essay was originally published in Hebrew in Makor Rishon.

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