“Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You,
glorious in holiness, awesome in praises, doing wonders?” Ex. 15:11
Shalom Dear Friend and Prayer Partner, Happy Hanukkah.
Hanukkah (dedication) is a holiday of miracles. It commemorates the miraculous victory of the small army of brave Jews over the much larger and better-equipped Syrian/Greek army and the liberation of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the hands of the pagan ruler Antiochus Epiphanes. [Read more about the historical account of Hanukkah in our blog.]
One of the benedictions Jews say when lighting the candles of the Hanukiah (Hanukkah candelabra) is: “We light the candles for the miracles that You have done for our forefathers in days of old, and are still doing today.”
There is a top (called a dreidel) that children use to play a game during the holiday. The top has four sides. On each side there is a Hebrew letter that represents the sentence, “Nes Godol Haya Poe,” which means, “a great miracle happened here.” In all the wars Israel had to fight against surrounding enemy neighbors, there were many miracles that enabled the tiny nation to survive and thrive. Presently Israel is facing fierce and violent enemies from the north and the south, whose aim is to wipe Israel off the map of the Middle East.
The following accounts are two recent incidents that are viewed as miracles that happened on the Gaza border this year close to the time of Hanukkah.
Lt. Bar Vaknin
Lt. Bar Vaknin of Israeli’s elite Givati Brigade was shot in the stomach by a Hamas sniper a few months ago, he said he was, “saved by a miracle.”
Lt. Vaknin was stationed on the security fence, separating Israel from Gaza, protecting Israel from the Hamas-led ‘March of Return’ that has brought tens of thousands of Gazans, including old men, women, and children to violently riot along the border every Friday. For eight months crowds of Gazans have stormed the border fence, throwing explosives, firebombs, and rocks at Israeli soldiers. They flew many kites with flaming objects attached with the goal of damaging the fence and other Israeli targets (many Israeli fields nearby were burned to the ground.) They burn tires, so clouds of smoke prevent the Israeli guards from seeing their actions. Youth tug at barbed wire along the fence to cut it and go through into Israel.
Vaknin saw a group of children at his section of the fence who began to approach the border. He fired several warning shots in the air to disperse the crowd. Suddenly he felt an explosion in his stomach when a Palestinian Hamas sniper shot him. “I fell backward down the embankment. The first thing I did was to call on the radio while I was still falling.’’ They rushed him to the hospital and operated on him. “I am so thankful for my comrades’ quick reaction”. He considers it “a miracle.” Vaknin was released from the hospital but faces a long period of rehabilitation.
The other miracle happened on the evening of November 12, just before Hamas fired about 500 rockets at nearby Israeli areas, including the city of Ashkelon that suffered most of the hits. A Kornet anti-tank guided missile (they are very precise) was fired from the Gaza Strip at an Israeli bus just several kilometers from the Gazan border. The precise hit caused the bus to explode and burn.
Just minutes before the bus suffered the direct hit, it had dropped off some 50 Israeli soldiers. The Hamas terror group had stalked the bus for several minutes until it was fully exposed to them from the Strip. Only then did they fire the missile, hitting the bus and setting it on fire. The soldiers didn’t know it when they left the bus, but God knew. These few minutes were the miracle that saved their lives. The burning bus was empty.
One 19-year-old Israeli soldier was severally injured while he stood next to the bus. He was taken to Beersheba’s hospital in life-threatening condition and successfully underwent emergency surgery. The Arab bus driver was also taken to the hospital suffering from shock. Later on, he told doctors at the Beersheva hospital that it was a “miracle” that the soldiers on his bus were not killed and that the incident proves that “God loves the Jews.” He said: “I just let off 50 soldiers from the bus. A minute later the bus was hit. [if it was] 60 seconds earlier you would have had 50 dead soldiers.”
We thank and praise the Lord, God of Israel for His awesomeness, for He is good and His mercies endure forever. Please continue to pray for Israel’s protection.
We love and appreciate you very much. We would love to hear from you – any comments, questions and/or prayer requests. Again we would like to thank you for your prayers and financial support. We pray for you too from Zion, for God to supply all your needs and bless you greatly.
For the salvation of Israel and the nations,
In His love,
Simcha and Bella Davidov