So we rolled the dice this Thanksgiving vacation and came up sort of empty.
We were supposed to go to Las Vegas, but then there is ISIS threatening to strike the U.S.
Already, ISIS is claiming 71 soldiers in 15 states in the U.S., and the FBI is saying that ISIS terrorists are being recruited in all 50 states.
Yet our leadership doesn't want to fight ISIS while they are still over there--instead, we are foolishly waiting for the next big terror attack over here, as if 9/11 with 3,000 dead wasn't enough!
We are stubborn, deaf to the terror threats, reactive, and refuse to wake up to the danger that is facing our country.
Dancing around the issue with some drone and airstrikes--no matter how lethal--is not going to remove this enormous terror threat--coming from some of the most barbaric of enemies that we have ever faced.
My sister told me from a lecture she heard recently about the terrorist threats we are facing, "We are used to fighting finite wars--there is a start/middle/end. [But] they [ISIS] fights infinite wars--not defined [by time or space]."
So how did we come to cancelling our Vegas holiday vacation?
Here is our story...
The number 613 in Judaism is very important--it represents the number of commandments in the Torah.
We have been seeing this number lately wherever we go: We look at the clock, it's 6:13. We are driving and look at the license plate in front of us--613. We go shopping and the receipt is for $6.13. We rolled a pair of dice (above), that's right 613, and much more.
We asked what this means and were told it's a warning and to do teshuva (repentance) and follow the commandments more stringently.
On Shabbat this week, I was reading the Wall Street Journal, and then saw an article on a new illustrative book of the commandments called, "The 613."
That night, I dreamed the entire night about 613--and the need to unlock the code of what it meant for us.
The next day, my wife said "I have a really bad feeling about Vegas, let's go visit your parents graves."
When we got there, my wife touched the tombstone, and said she could hear my dad telling her not to go to Vegas--was this just playing on her imagination?
So she calls her father who is chasidic and he contacts a famous, pious and mystical Rabbi, the Vizhnitzer Rebbe--and without asking him about the trip--the Rebbe just pops out to my father-in-law that he should tell us not to go on our trip, and if we have to go, to take a different path.
My wife tells her father that we already made plans, have tickets, and don't want to cancel the trip, so we are instructed to give charity (so I immediately write a check for $613!) and do other deeds for repentance instead.
Then the night before we are supposed to fly out, my daughter comes out with her iPhone and a news items on the State Department issuing a global travel alert "amid concerns that terror groups and individuals plan more attacks after the Paris massacres."
If all this wasn't enough, my back which has been hurting the last week, then completely gives out out on me--and in enormous pain, we simply can't go anywhere.
One warning, two warnings, three warnings...we can't be deaf to G-d's message.
So on this Thanksgiving, a sincere thank you to Hashem (and the Vizhnitzer Rebbe) for guiding us and keeping us from danger.
And a not so thank you to ISIS for implicitly spoiling our Thanksgiving holiday plans to Vegas.
A small and insignificant, but nevertheless a casualty to our political disengagement, false appeasement, fearfulness to recognize the enemy, and war-weariness to take the bastards down and take them down hard and for good before something, G-d forbid, serious and much worse happens. ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)