April 11, 2024
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Calling All Kohanim: Bless Our Brave Soldiers

In Devarim 20:3, a divine command is bestowed upon the people of Israel, instructing them to appoint a Kohen, known as “Moshuach Milchama, anointed for war” to deliver a crucial pre-war address…וְאָמַ֤ר אֲלֵהֶם֙ שְׁמַ֣ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אַתֶּ֨ם קְרֵבִ֥ים הַיּ֛וֹם לַמִּלְחָמָ֖ה עַל־אֹיְבֵיכֶ֑ם אַל־יֵרַ֣ךְ לְבַבְכֶ֗ם אַל־תִּֽירְא֧וּ וְאַֽל־תַּחְפְּז֛וּ וְאַל־תַּֽעַרְצ֖וּ מִפְּנֵיהֶֽם׃

He shall say to them, “Hear, O Israel! You are about to join in battle with your enemy. Let not your courage falter. Do not be in fear, or in panic, or in dread of them.

כִּ֚י ה’ אֱלֹֽקְיכֶ֔ם הַהֹלֵ֖ךְ עִמָּכֶ֑ם לְהִלָּחֵ֥ם לָכֶ֛ם עִם־אֹיְבֵיכֶ֖ם לְהוֹשִׁ֥יעַ אֶתְכֶֽם׃

For it is your God who marches with you to do battle for you against your enemy, to bring you victory.”

This Kohen, or Moshuach Milchama, recites the words as written in the Torah while adding his own words of inspiration and encouragement to prepare the people for war. Unfortunately, without the Beis Hamikdash, we do not have the traditional setting for anointing and bestowing the garments of the Kohen Gadol on this Kohen, but we do have thousands of Kohanim existing worldwide. These Kohanim bear the divine duty of transmitting Hashem’s blessings to the children of Israel, not just on the battlefield but also in daily life in Israel and during festivals in the Diaspora.

In an endeavor to uphold the legacy of Moshuach Hamilchama, an inspiring movement has emerged. Saul Teplitsky, hailing from Riverdale, embarked on this mission when he encountered a soldier at the airport. This soldier was heading back to Israel with an astounding 27 duffel bags for his unit. As a Kohen, Saul offered a heartfelt blessing, and to his surprise, the soldier conveyed that the blessing meant more to him than all the bags combined.

Inspired by this profound encounter, Saul initiated a global family of Kohanim united in their shared purpose—to bless the valiant soldiers defending the Jewish people. He set up a WhatsApp group, aptly named “Kohanim On Call,” for effective coordination.

Saul’s enthusiasm quickly spread, as he was joined by advocates of this noble cause, including myself, having learned about Saul’s initiative through my brother Ira Bloom from West Orange. We reached out to various organizations in Israel, with which we share personal connections, such as Mizrachi, Nefesh B’Nefesh, OU Israel, Aish, Beit Knesset Hanasi and Hovevei. Our endeavor encompasses not just these organizations but individuals in Israel and worldwide, as we continue to expand our network of blessings.

This initiative, “Kohanim on Call,” constitutes a growing consortium of Kohanim from diverse corners of the globe, all driven by a common goal—to extend blessings to all who serve in the State of Israel. Currently, the group comprises over 1,000 Kohanim of different ages, hailing from the USA, Israel, Germany, Brazil, South Africa and France. This number is ever-increasing, and their collective blessings have already reached over 6,000 chayalim. Moreover, this past Thursday, more than 100 Kohanim converged on Zoom to offer a united blessing to the soldiers of Israel, including the hostages—a tradition that will be perpetuated.

If you have names of soldiers to share with these Kohanim, please use this form: https://tinyurl.com/KohensonCallForm. Alternatively, if you possess a lengthy list of names and find it challenging to input them individually, you can email them to [email protected]. To all Kohanim interested in becoming a part of this noble mission, kindly complete this form: tinyurl.com/KohensOnCall. We encourage you to share this initiative widely with as many people as possible.

Saul’s commitment extends beyond the realm of blessings. He enlisted the assistance of Abby Marcus to design postcards for the soldiers, an innovative way to extend words of encouragement and blessings. These postcards are now being distributed in schools and various locations, allowing individuals to pen their own heartfelt messages to the brave soldiers.

Feedback from the Chayalim family has been overwhelmingly positive, emphasizing the meaningful impact of these blessings. The initiative, fueled by the spirit of unity and support, continues to flourish.

In closing, let us beseech Hashem to shower His blessings and protection upon our courageous soldiers, guiding them safely homeand continuing to illuminate their path with unwavering strength and determination.


Rabbi Paul Bloom lives in Jerusalem with his wife Ettie. Paul is CEO of PDB FutureCom and is a Board member of the NY/Israel Chamber of Commerce. He is a retired CTO of IBM Research.

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