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“Without a vision, the nation will perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
On a quiet Shabbat evening in 2002, Dror (a Hebrew word for freedom) Weinberg, aged 38, was enjoying the company of his wife, who was pregnant, and their five children in Kiryat Moshe, a Jerusalem neighborhood known for its understated piety. Suddenly Weinberg got an emergency call. Worshipers leaving Shabbat prayers in Hebron had been attacked by terrorists. As the colonel in charge of the Hebron brigade, Weinberg quickly donned his uniform, grabbed his assault rifle, and sped to the scene of the attack. As an observant Jew, Weinberg would not normally drive on Shabbat, but when it is a matter of saving lives, you are obligated to breach Shabbat (Sabbath) law.
Weinberg led the assault on the terrorists and, tragically, was killed. His eulogy included this tribute: “He always strove to be the leader, and not dragged along; he was an initiator. His style of command was an almost impossible combination of strictness and rigidity together with humanity and empathy, and he always looked forward to victory.”
Weinberg had “an almost impossible style of command” that, no doubt, had everything to do with his indomitable vision of victory. Yet embracing the “almost impossible” is what makes Israelis tick. Israel’s very existence, considering the 500 million hostile neighbors who would like to extinguish it, is an ode to the “almost impossible.”
Dror Weinberg’s son, Yoav (whose namesake was the commander of King David’s army), was fifteen at the time of his father’s death. Ten years later, he had assumed command of an elite and secretive unit that his father had led early in his own career. Yoav possesses the same leadership qualities of his father and is acknowledged as someone who will go far in the IDF.
Today, the Weinberg style — and the vision of victory that goes along with it — is increasingly found among those living in the Land of Israel and soon, let us pray, will spread to the four corners of the earth as well.
And any nation with such a vision of victory, predicated on ideals of the “almost impossible,” will not perish.
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“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
“A shining city upon a hill.”
“A thousand points of light.”
“No child left behind.”
“The forgotten will be forgotten no more.”
If you have a vision for your nation, you are invited to share it here.