Like the proverbial olive, the more we are pressed and squeezed, tormented and persecuted, the more valuable ‘oil’ we produce. Always a nation of givers, the current war has resulted in an outpouring of chessed. Not a day passes that does not see people leaving the relative comfort of home to give of themselves to those suffering from illness or the ravages of October 7th.

Our volunteers beg for the opportunity to man (or woman) the hospital refreshment carts and see the smiles of family members who are sitting 24/7 with a son who was wounded in battle. Shyly they approach the carts for a soul-warming sweetened cup of coffee and a slice of comfort in the form of delectable pastry. Even the harried hospital staff take advantage of the carts to afford them the physical and emotional energy to continue to give again and again.

Meir, one of Ezer Mizion’s star volunteers is a case in point. He was drafted to reserves on the border of Syria almost four months ago, a draining experience with no respite. But when he is allowed leave, his first stop is to the oncology department to read stories to kids and produce smiles. There is no one on the ward that does not look forward to seeing him at the doorway bringing sunshine to dispel the black clouds that permeate the very walls of this ward of doom.

 This time he brought them a book written by a friend from the reserves, who wanted a part in Meir’s mission of kindness.  Listen. Can you hear the giggles as those kids, who have experienced what no child should experience, laugh at the funny antics in this delightful new book.

Cosmeticians frequent the hospital floors. The faces of young mothers battling cancer perk up as the cosmeticians bring their magic to the oncology wards. Their faces begin to shine on the outside from the beauty of perfectly applied makeup and in the inside from the glow of happiness as these heroines receive the pampering they so much deserve.

Idan is a frequent Ezer Mizion visitor. Everyone misses him with his cheery music lifting up spirits so burdened with fear and worry.  He himself is now lying in a hospital, one of our many wounded precious soldiers.  We pray for him and all the other wounded and know that as soon as he is well, he’ll be back, another Ezer Mizion star whose only goal is to give.

Elad, the PuzzleMan, another celestial star, is found in the ward moments before he has to leave again for Lebanon. Never empty-handed, he brings much-loved puzzles that will distract the children from their ever-present secret fears.

May Hashem watch over each one of you and may you always merit to be a source of joy to others, in times of persecution and in times of peace, which we pray is soon to come.