After what happened on the 7th of October, each of us found our own way to connect and show solidarity. In this ongoing war in Israel, we all have a role to play, everyone in our own unique way, from wherever we may be. Some people contribute from home through various initiatives, while others feel the call to dive into the frontlines – with soldiers, aiding the displaced, or lending a hand to farmers in need.
Recently, Ariel Pinson, owner of Weinstein’s Hardware & Houseware in the Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, stepped up in a big way. Fueled by the desire to help his brothers and sisters in the holy land, he jetted off to Israel.
With blessings from his wife and business partner, he spent weeks with soldiers – helping them put on Tefillin, giving Tzedakah, writing letters in a Sefer Torah, and encouraging Chayalot to light Shabbat candles.
Once in Israel, Pinson got a wonderful inspirational surprise – his friend Meir Zarchi and his son Mendel joined the mission. Together, they hopped on a Mitzvah Tank which went to the Gaza border where they did all they could to inspire soldiers. From putting up Mezuzahs on base, to supplying the soldiers with food and giving the soldiers pocket-sized Chitas on a microfilm for protection. Their impact was real – soldiers, with tears in their eyes, expressed gratitude and a willingness to fulfill Mitzvos.
Stories unfolded, like a 40-year-old reservist who hadn’t put on Tefillin since his Bar Mitzvah, and another who had never put on Tefillin in his life. Soldiers were so touched that they were eager to don Tefillin, Tzitzis, and do other mitzvos.
One story hit home – they left a pair of Tzitzis with a Chayelet, and later found out she gave it to a soldier who was hesitant to go into dangerous areas within the red zone to make arrests, without them. With tears in his eyes, he put on his own pair of Tzitzis and confidently headed in to Gaza.
Pinson and the Zarchis weren’t just there to give strength; they found it too. Their visit to the community of Sderot, a community which over the years got hit hard by over 20,000 rockets, was particularly inspiring.
”We met with the local Chabad Shliach where we had the opportunity to help with a food bank that supplied those that don’t have the means,” Pinson told COLlive.com. “Local community members from Sderot pointed out how miraculous and fortunate that the tragedy didn’t happen a day before – when plenty of men would have been sleeping in the Sukkah at that time.”
He added, “One would think that at a time like this, people would be caught up in their own problems, and figuring out their own situations for their families. But the overwhelming sense of unity, and positive Moshiach energy was next level.
“One example that sticks out, was of a women and her daughter that approached us on shabbos afternoon in Yerushalayim, the mother asked if we could help them, we replied of course, they went on to ask if we knew of a Shul in the area, so that her daughter could say Tehilim. Very quickly we found out that her family was displaced due to the attacks, and people that they didn’t know opened their homes and took them in, and this displaced little girl is looking for a Tehilim so that she could pray for others in need!
“As the trip came to a close and we we’re about to board the plane to head back home, the lady at the gate asks what were we doing in Israel at a time like this. After explaining and showing her some videos of our trip, we saw that she became very emotional and was crying. The lady expressed her gratitude and appreciation for what we have done, and with these heavy emotions we boarded the plane, knowing that we just had the ultimate once in a lifetime experience, that was full of the Rebbe’s blessings, and incredible Hashgacha Protis from beginning to end.
“The point here is simple – there’s no doubt in my mind that everyone can make a difference,” Pinson adds. “Let’s all realize how helpful we can be and continue our support for Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael, where we will all be there together, with a complete victory over Galus with the coming of Moshiach Now!”
Many have been reaching out to Pinson to ask about volunteering themselves, including a group of women over 50 and a man who is 69 years old and said he had volunteered during the Yom Kippur war.
If you’re thinking about a special trip and need guidance, Ariel Pinson has already helped quite a few groups already and is more than happy to connect you with the right contacts 347-407-1801.