Message from Rabbi

Posted on October 12, 2023

Dear Friends,
With Passover on the horizon we think of the Exodus from Egypt as we await (as of this writing) the Exodus from Gaza for 130 Israeli hostages including the Bibas family, and their 4 year old Ariel and 1 year old Kfir. Kfir was 9 months old when Hamas terrorists kidnapped him from his crib.

All because of what, exactly? At least the ancient Egyptians had some good reasons to fear the Jews. The Torah tells us they were afraid that if the Israelites became too numerous, they might join the enemies of Egypt to destroy it. And why wouldn’t Pharoah let the people go? Because they provided free labor for massive building projects. But what excuse does Hamas have for October 7? If you ask a student protester on a college campus you’ll be told it is the right of the Palestinians to “resist”. To resist what, exactly?

They never say. Something like “Israel murders millions (any number will do) of Palestinian babies” or “Israel is Apartheid” even though they can’t define the word and they don’t realize that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is NOT an apartheid regime. Or the blockade against Gaza had left it a prison for 2.2 million Palestinians. And this was their answer on October 8. Now that Israel’s war against Hamas has left thousands of Palestinians dead, Israel is guilty of genocide.

I am intensely saddened by the deaths of so many Palestinians in Gaza as Israel continues to destroy Hamas. While I doubt that the numbers of casualties given every day by the “Gazan Ministry of Health”, while newspapers and the Associated Press believe every number they are told without question, and while our own Times Leader continues to report those numbers without hesitation but also reports Israel’s claim that 10,000 of those are Hamas terrorists (sorry- “militants”) but that “Israel has provided no evidence of this”, despite all of this I am willing to believe what Hamas tells the world. I’m willing to believe what they claim Israel has done to Gaza all these years since Israel unilaterally left Gaza in 2006 as rockets from Gaza have been soaring into Israel ever since. I believe it because I believe Hamas when it says it will repeat October 7 over and over and over again until there are no Jews left alive. I believe that without hesitation. And sadly, so do most Israelis. And more sadly, most of the rest of the world believes everything else Hamas says, except that it plans to kill every single Jew on the planet.

Baby Kfir Bibas turned one year old a few weeks ago. Our little foster baby Seth, whom we’ve had for nearly a year, turned one year old a few weeks ago too. He and I are buddies. The mere thought of his fate being similar to that of Kfir is too much to contemplate. How Kfir’s family withstands this endless pain and anguish is beyond my comprehension. I repeat often that there are more than 1.8 Billion Muslims in the world. A billion is a thousand million. Almost one out of every four or five human beings is Muslim. One percent of the Muslims is 18 million people. There are only about 14 million Jews on Earth. All the Jews on the planet are less than one percent of the Muslims. And people complain about Islamophobia? Really? If only one percent of the world’s Muslims would write a letter to the editor of their local newspaper demanding that Hamas free the hostages, they would be freed. 18 million people can apply a lot of pressure. But most of those Muslims see the 7 million Jews in Israel as the root of the problem. And newspapers like our own that carry Associated Press articles won’t even fact check stories that say that Israel’s war with Gaza is the deadliest in the region in recent years. Has no one heard of the Syrian civil war which has left half a million Muslims dead? Has no one followed the war in Yemen before the Houthis started attacking world shipping? Hundreds of thousands of Muslims slaughtered by other Muslims and there is no end in sight. But because Jews are not involved, no one is interested.

When baby Kfir is back home with his family, along with the other hostages, I’d be happy to talk about a ceasefire. I’d even entertain a discussion about a two state solution, although unless the Palestinians who are committed to Israel’s destruction are willing to have their state in some other part of the world, I don’t see how Jews could feel secure in their homeland knowing what their neighbors are capable of.

So as we recall that we were slaves in Egypt, we realize that modern Egypt has sealed its border with Gaza more tightly than Israel has. Egypt knows the problems Muslim Brotherhood has caused in Egypt, and it wants absolutely no part of the offshoot of that terror organization, which is called Hamas, coming anywhere near Cairo. So while I am troubled by the massive loss of life in Gaza, I blame not only Hamas for it, but anyone who does not insist loudly that the hostages, including one year old Kfir Bibas, be returned at once. May this Passover truly bring about an exodus from evil and usher in L’shanah HaBa’ah b’Y’rushalayim.


#1 Free the hostages. Bring them home.
#2 Hamas surrenders
#3 Egypt immediately opens its borders to allow its brothers and sisters safe

Rabbi Larry Kaplan