Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Greatest Among Us

In honor of Veterans Day, I would like to express my gratitude to all the brave men and women who have served in the American armed forces. From the mandatory military service of years ago to the volunteer army of today, extraordinary heroes have been produced. It is only because of these people who are willing to put their lives on the line that the rest of us are able to enjoy all the freedoms this country has to offer.

Since it can be difficult to express true appreciation through words alone, I recently came across a touching song that might do a little better. It's called Note to the Unknown Soldier by Five For Fighting:

Along this theme, there is a great story told of Rabbi Aryeh Levine. A man named Elazar Cohen was the commander in charge of the Israeli army's helicopter squad. During wartime, his job was to fly directly into hostile enemy fire in order to rescue wounded soldiers. Cohen once came to the greatest sage of the time, Rabbi Levine, and asked for a blessing. To Cohen's shock, Rabbi Levine refused. He then asked, "But why?" Rabbi Levine responded, "Who am I to bless you? I truly believe that your merit in Heaven is greater than mine."

We should always keep in mind that the very term for Jew in Hebrew, Yehudi, is derived from the word meaning "one who thanks." So, as both a proud American and Jew, it's only fitting to be grateful for all our veterans and their families. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. You are truly the greatest among us.


  1. Representatives of the IDF actually said that the olim who made aliyah to ISrael are greater than they are, because they left their lands, their possessions, their family and friends behind to a foreign place with many challenges.

  2. That's an interesting perspective, and a valid point.

    The bottom line is that when you see groups like these talking about the other's greatness, it reflects well on both of them.