Rachel Goldberg & Jon Polin

Episode 1 February 20, 2024 00:43:55
Rachel Goldberg & Jon Polin
The Koren Podcast
Rachel Goldberg & Jon Polin

Feb 20 2024 | 00:43:55

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Show Notes

We're back for our fifth season of The Koren Podcast asking our guests to teach us their Torah al regel ahat - standing on one leg.

We were joined this week by Rachel Goldberg and Jon Polin, the parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin who, at the time of recording, has been held hostage by Hamas terrorists for 136 days.

Hersh is one of 134 people who have been held in captivity since October 7th and, as Rachel and Jon say, they have been living every parent's worst nightmare. Rachel and Jon have been working, and worrying, around the clock for nearly 5 months to get any information they can about their son and secure his release.

Despite the unfathomable situation in which they find themselves, Rachel and Jon have displayed unbelievable poise and courage while meeting with presidents, celebrities, and even the pope to ensure that the world does not forget about this humanitarian crisis.

One thing that Jon and Rachel have been vocal about is how their faith has been a source of inspiration and guidance during such a difficult time and allowed them to continue the fight to bring their son home. 

Listen now as they share their Torah al regel ahat.

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Useful Links:

facebook.com/BringHershHome

instagram.com/bring.hersh.home/

facebook.com/bringhomenow

instagram.com/bringhomenow/

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The Koren Podcast was written and hosted by Aryeh Grossman and Alex Drucker and was edited and produced by Alex Drucker. Artwork by Tani Bayer. Music by Music Unlimited via pixabay.com

The Koren Podcast is part of the Koren Podcast Network, a division of Koren Jerusalem.

 

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: And I have said that in many interviews since October 7 that I feel I've led and continue to lead a life with goodness overflowing at this moment. My cup is overflowing with tears, but I have faith and belief that my cup will overflow again with goodness and that Hirsch will come back. You. [00:00:44] Speaker B: Shalom from Jerusalem, and welcome to this special episode of the Corinne Podcast. And for today's episode, we are joined by our colleague Karen Melt, production manager and senior editor at Corinne. Karen, why don't you tell our listeners how come you're joining us today for this episode. [00:00:59] Speaker C: Thank you so much, Ari and Alex, for being a part of this special podcast today. So we are going to be talking with Rachel Goldberg and John Poland. As everyone knows, their son, Hirsch Goldberg Poland, has been kidnapped already for 136 days, grueling days. And my special connection is that I grew up with Rachel, also with John, but Rachel and I were in class together. So it's even more meaningful to be able to be a part of this conversation today. [00:01:31] Speaker B: I think also one of the things that's emphasized by Karen joining us today is that I'm sure a lot of people have heard in discussions, is that things going on in Israel over the past few months, the nature of Israel and the nature of the jewish world, is that everyone sort of is maximum two steps, if not one step removed from someone directly affected by this. So obviously, we appreciate Karen joining us who has that connection to here. So thank you for joining us, Karen. [00:01:53] Speaker C: Thank you. [00:01:54] Speaker D: Some people might be questioning why we at Coron Jerusalem would be speaking with Rachel and John, given that they haven't written a book. They may not have a direct connection with Karim, but as Arya said, we're all only one or two steps removed from somebody who has been directly affected by events here in Israel over the last few months. And so speaking with Rachel and John is really about how we as the jewish people are all connected. We're all living through this together. But to speak to Rachel and John and hear about how they are living through this unimaginably, more acutely, we all think is something incredibly important. [00:02:34] Speaker C: And writing their story from the first day, from October 7, writing the story, and we've been reading along with them every day with their daily posts, their many interviews and everything else, that it is a book, unfortunately, it's one that never wants to be written. But here we are, and we need to discuss it. We need to make sure that the world continues to know what's going on here and that none of the 134 hostages that are still remaining in Aza that we should never forget any of them. [00:03:02] Speaker D: So, with that in mind, we will now hear from Rachel and John, their Torah al Regalakat. [00:03:10] Speaker B: And we are joined today by Rachel Goldberg and John Pollan. Thank you so much for joining us. And can you start off by teaching us your Torah al Regalachat on one leg? [00:03:24] Speaker A: Oh, boy. Okay. Well, that's really hard for me, because I realized when I saw that question that I have a lot of torahs, and I'm not really good at standing on regale. So am I allowed to mention a couple ideas quick, even though, I mean, I guess you have no choice but to say yes. The first thing I'll say is that because I came to dati Judaism, observant Judaism, later than some other people have been privileged to do in Devarim, in Parak Lamid, when it talks about, you know, like, this Torah that I'm giving you today, when Hashem is talking, don't worry, it's not in the sky that you have to find someone to come and bring it to you, or it's not across the water that it could be whatever it is for you. And I've always loved that idea that our Torah is what it is to each of us individually. So that speaks very loudly to me. And you know what? Maybe I'll leave it at that. That was, like, very good. I have some other ideas, but we could talk about that later, and we'll give John a turn to tell his Torah. [00:04:38] Speaker E: So I'm going to go to the most classic, all regular chat Torah, which is the vehafta Kamoka. And I want to apply it to today in two different lenses. One is, I presume that the listeners of this podcast understands that our son has been held hostage for 136 days. And so I think about Hirsch, our son, all day, every day. And I think about his captors, and I think what happened on October 7 was the absence of humanity, as the pope said to Rachel a few months ago. But I hope that today, whoever is holding him is finding some humanity and treating him well, reasonably well. So I'm constantly saying that to his captors. But the second side of it is, Rachel's talked a lot in the last 136 days about how we are every family's, every person's worst nightmare right now. And it makes people uncomfortable to talk to us, to be with us, to see us on the street. And numerous times per day, I have an interaction where somebody comes over and they have nothing to say, or they even say, I don't know what to say. And it's awkward. And I'm constantly telling myself, I understand people are awkward. Just respond with encouragement, with thanks, with support. Let them know that just them showing up is strengthening to us. And I try to respond to them the way that I would want people to respond to me in my awkward moments. [00:06:06] Speaker C: It's interesting because from the outside, both of you are very public figures right now. As much as you don't want to be, that's not the position that you chose to be. But unfortunately, you have to be in order to be fighting for Hirsch's life and Hirsch's return, which we hope is today, but from coming from the outside, and also, so many people now that look at your facebook, that see you on the news and everything, it's so interesting because we see it as that everybody's trying to embrace you, and everybody wants to be close. So obviously, that's easy when you're not actually in front of you, when then you are in front of front of you, it's a whole different story. So it's a good lesson. It's a good behavior Kamoka lesson for everybody to realize, like, hey, this is a situation that you're going in. And as awkward as it is, don't shy away from it. You need everyone to be there. You need everyone to be present. Because we need Hirsch and the other 133 hostages let out today. [00:07:08] Speaker A: Right. And you know, the other thing that is a piece of that as well for your Torah, John, is that unfortunately, we are in a situation where I don't know that everyone is saying, Hirsch is our son. We should treat this family and these 134 hostage families as if it is our own family. There's been recently this really unfortunate, excruciatingly painful campaign to kind of put hostage families in a separate category than Am Yisrael, than the whole entire nation of jewish people around the world. And that's been really painful for us. And I think, again, if people can get back into this idea of Kamoha, we are Kamoha, we are just like you. Hershey is just like your son. Hersh is just like your loved one. And maybe that can help bring us more together, which is something we've all been struggling with pre October 7 as. [00:08:15] Speaker D: A nation, if we can go back to pre October 7, which I know is a difficult sort of headspace to try and maintain. But you came with two different torrut. Perhaps there's connections there. But could you tell us a bit about what was it like growing up in the Goldberg pollen house? What was the values that you tried to instill in your family, the things that you either actively, consciously discuss with each other, of what light do you want your family to bring into the world or the things you've, you realized or people had seen and sort of guess again. Who is Hirsch? Your son? [00:09:00] Speaker A: Well, definitely something that we constantly, I don't think this is so unique. We're stressing in our house was Dercheretz before anything else. And we often would say to the kids from they were little when they would go to school, do the best you can. But the most important thing is that you must be respectful to your teachers and to your peers. And at that, everything else we could handle. You come home with a bad grade, that's fine. You come home and you forgot to bring your homework home with you, that's fine. But that it was absolutely unacceptable to ever get a phone call that any of our kids were not showing their heritz. And whenever we would go to parent teacher meetings, it always made us feel okay when they would say, oh, for Hirsch, he could definitely be trying harder because he's bright. And so he could have always been doing better, but they would always say, and he's very funny, but he's not a clown and he's never disrespectful. He always shows Derek Haritz and our girls as well. And that made everything all right. The other stuff was forgiven because there was Derek Haritz. So I think that that's one of the values that we very much stressed always in our house. [00:10:25] Speaker E: I think the other one that I'd add is, and it wasn't even so much a deliberate one that we planned before having kids or ever planned, but is just making Yiddishkite meaningful for our kids and for the family, which is to say, did we talk periodically about Torah and halacha and so on? Yes. But really, I just think that we wanted our kids to see meaning in everything we were doing, right, going to shoal and struggling with Kashruf and other things as we traveled. [00:10:59] Speaker A: Just to make. [00:10:59] Speaker E: It meaningful, which doesn't necessarily mean fun, but meaningful, that they would get something, see value in our lifestyle. [00:11:08] Speaker A: And we said, before we made aliyah, before we moved to Israel, there was so much Kavanaugh, there was so much intention in leading the lifestyle that we led. We made aliyah from Richmond, Virginia, which was a beautiful but very tiny community, religious community. And so everything was very much with intention. Hirsch, when he was in kindergarten, was the only jewish boy in his class, actually at the JCC preschool. It just worked out that way. There was another class that was also his same age, but in his particular class, he was the only jewish boy. And there became an issue where it wasn't a religious, traditionally observant preschool. And all the birthday parties were always thrown on Saturdays, on Shabbat. And we didn't live in a place where it was walkable. And so that first year, and I didn't feel comfortable saying to these, know, Hirsch can't come if you do this on Saturday, because those people all went to church on Sundays. Wasn't. Sundays were not a good day for them to have their parties. And so for that whole first year, I didn't want people to feel bad, so I would just RSVP. Unfortunately, he can't come. And then by the end of that year, at some point, somebody told someone, and the whole class sort of came to me to apologize, that they didn't realize that that was why Hirsch didn't come to any of these birthday parties. And the following year, they did make it work, and they did switch parties to Sunday afternoons so that Hirsch could come. But all of those lessons taught our know that what we were doing was important. And they didn't feel know. Hirsch wasn't resentful. He just noticed that he didn't go to these parties. But when we made aliyah, it was something that I actually, in many ways, I missed, that there was an intentionality behind being Jewish that ended up sort of receding a bit due to the ease of being Jewish here. [00:13:21] Speaker C: So, speaking about Kavanaugh, that's really something that right now, it probably takes on a whole new level. And you speak about a lot about Tehillim and how spirituality and Tzvila and Tehillim has been part of your life. But how has that really shaped over the past few months in particular? [00:13:40] Speaker A: Well, I'm very thankful that we have our faith and that we have this rich heritage to draw on during this excruciating time, during this difficult time. You're right, Karen, that tehillins speak very loudly to me. And in fact, I was not paid to make this plug. But I did get a brand new purple Corin Tehillim book that I've been using from my dear friend Karen and some other friends from Chicago that was left by my front door. So I took my old book that was not from corn publishing. You should know my old Tehillim, which has been a little bit retired, and now I use my purple corn tehillum book every day. I find it fascinating to read, I have to admit that a lot of the tehillim I read in English because my Hebrew is just not very good and my Havana is not very good. So even if I can read it, I don't understand what I'm reading. And in this particular edition that Karen gave me, first there's an explanation of what the tehillim is going to be talking about. And then underneath, it's really explaining insights into the actual tehillim that you just read. And I do feel that it's been really a source. When I'm having super anxiety or super angst during the day, I can just take it out. And sometimes I go to, like, 126 to talk about captives being returned to titsion and how we'll be so happy and we'll be like dreamers. That's like an easy one that we read on Shabbat, but I actually read it almost every day, or 121 or 23 like, ones that we always go back to. I will say that Kaf Giml, that 23, which talks about this famous line that I learned once with Rabbi Harold Kushner, who's the famous Levracha that died this past year, who wrote when bad things happen to good people. And he wrote it in the wake of losing his only son to a horrible disease. And I was in a class with him once, and someone asked him, what al Regalachat is your Torah? And he said, without hesitating, kosi rivaya. And it just took my breath away, that he could say, my cup overflows. And I have said that in many interviews since October 7, that I feel I've led and continue to lead a life with goodness overflowing. At this moment, my cup is overflowing with tears. But I have faith and belief that my cup will overflow again with goodness and that Hirsch will come back. And so those are things that have been really strengthening to me during this time. [00:16:53] Speaker E: Aaron, I'll take a stab at the same question, which is, I've said a lot in this period, that it feels in some ways, and it's so important to say hav deal because we're not there. But like Ani Newt, when the time between somebody's death and their burial, when Jews are exempt from performing positive commandments, and there are a few reasons why they're exempt, one is the person who just passed away can no longer perform its vote. So their close loved ones, sort of in solidarity, don't. A second idea is that the journey of prepping the body and the soul to go from this world to the world to come is so all encompassing that there's no time for mitsvot. And then there's just the distraction. People's minds aren't there when they've just lost a loved one. And I believe Hirsch is alive and coming home. So this is not anut. But I experience some of those same feelings and emotions and realities. And as such, I find that mitzvot are hard. I've said many times that maybe we should be exempt. When you're in a period of captivity, a relative in captivity, in this unknown, maybe we should be exempt from mitzvahs, but we're not. And so some of what speaks to me is the things that acknowledge the challenges of doing these mitsvotes. Right? So Rachel's always liked that one sentence before the amidah, before the shmonazre, adashematai tiv tahu fiya gitilatecha. Right before we go into the amidah, we're saying to hashem, open my lips so that I can sing your praises, acknowledging that I need your help, so that I can praise you. And I feel like that's so much of everything that we do nowadays. And the second piece is all of the tehilim and all of our liturgy that's know, just calling out to hashem to help us. So an artist who we don't know bumped into me on the street on Friday and said, I can't believe I'm seeing you. I'm here from Atlanta, and I created a piece of art for you. And it was a beautiful piece of art that said, melee biom carno. And so it made me think about that. And I went back to Hillam 20 and read the whole thing over and even backed up Pasup from the end where it says, hama karu vanafalo va anaknu kamnu vanito dad. It describes Hirsch's story and what we're going through. They slumped over, they fell over, and we rose to the occasion to come and help. That's our story now. And then it goes on to the last sentence of Adashem Hoshia, God save, answer our cry, hamelechi aninu biom karenu. And so it's challenging for me to be doing mitsvote now for the reasons that I mentioned. And so the parts that speak to me are the ones that acknowledge those challenges of, God help us do what we can do to help you and to praise you and to have you do what you do. Those are all the pieces that are really powerful for me in this period. [00:20:00] Speaker B: You talked a little bit about intentionality. But also, John, you just mentioned one example of sort of an unexpected encounter. Have you had any other unexpected encounters, people you've met, experiences over the past few months that were, I guess, unexpected or surprising that have come out of this horrific situation you've been in so endlessly? [00:20:23] Speaker E: They happen all day, every day. And I'm actually going to let Rachel mostly talk about it. But I do want to mention a couple, which is, I've said that if there's one good thing in the last 136 days for us, it's that we've gone from seeing the worst in humanity to seeing the best in humanity. And it's manifested by the outpouring of support and love and strength that we get from so many people literally all day, every day, both virtually and in person. And I'll mention two examples from recently, which is, among other activities, we each somewhat together and sometimes separately, have been going into the ultra orthodox, the Haridi world for strength and for brachot blessings. And a few weeks ago in Benibrak, one night, and on the same night, I had two really interesting experiences. I was with one gadol, who asked everybody to leave the room. So it was just the two of us sitting. And he's the one who acknowledged what I mentioned earlier in the conversation. He said to me, I'll bet people are saying stupid things to you nowadays. I said, they are. And he said, obviously, nobody means it. They just don't know what to do. And they're awkward. And he just went right there, which I thought was interesting. Then from meeting him, I went to meet with Rav Zilberstein, who was in the midst of giving a shior a class in the hospital in Benibrakh Ma'in Yeshua. And I walked into the room in the middle of his shior, a full room of mostly haredi men. And one of his handlers went over to him and said quietly that the father of a hostage just came into the room. And he, mid sentenced, closed his Gemara, hit the table, and he said in Hebrew, friends, we must stop the class now. This is a matter of pikach Nefesh, a matter of saving a life. We are going to start to recite Tehillim. And this is a room full of people who I don't normally mix with. And he went on to lead the room in the most tearful, emotional, intentional recitation of fahilin. And the whole room just got into it and embraced the moment and came over afterwards and physically embraced me. And I thought, I never mixed with this community. But they are doing what it is that they can do during this difficult time for us as a family, for the whole country. And we have so many moments of that kind of unity and beauty all day, every day that are really inspiring. [00:22:54] Speaker A: And so what I was going to share was that people are often saying to us in different interviews, they'll say, oh, you've met with these presidents, or you've met with these prime ministers, or you met with the pope, or you met with this famous person, like, who's given you the know, encouragement. And honestly, it is not any of those people. And it is who John is talking about. I was thinking, for me, I've spoken now in Ramat Bechemesh a couple of times, and those evenings with just women that are hereedi women who know, on the surface, they might look at me and think like, oh, we don't seem the same. Or I might look at them and think that. And we are exactly the same. And they have been so strengthening to me, so supportive. In fact, after I spoke in Ramaphe Chemesh, the first time I spoke in Gimel and Dalid, I was going to then be speaking in Aleph, but it wasn't until the following week. And then I started to have a very bad week. Just a lot of stuff was going on. I mean, every single day is torture, as you can imagine. And then there's days that are extra torture because there's things that are going on that are extra torturous. And I kept saying, I can't wait to go back to ramape chemesh. Like I needed a dose of these powerful, mighty aishet chael women to lift me up again. And I was counting, literally counting the days. And then on that day, I was counting the hours until I got to go there. And I was so thankful to be back in that room with these mighty women of faith and of strength. And also, I'll do a shout out to the christian community that has been so unbelievably good to us. And there are groups of christians that have come to Israel and small groups. I'm not talking about talking in front of hundreds of people. I went to a group, one Moza Shabbat about a month ago, and it was maybe a room of 25, 20 people. I really don't know. They were so amazing. Just regular people and sharing their own challenges and what has helped them and which Tahillim have helped them and how prayer has helped them and just sharing. One woman said to me afterwards, she stayed and she said, you're going through ambiguous trauma, which is different than normal trauma, which is when you're just walking down the road and you're hit in the back by a truck that you didn't see coming. That's normal trauma, and it knocks you on your back if it doesn't kill you. And you have to decide, how am I going to recover from this hit out of nowhere, ambiguous trauma is the truck is still on you. We are 136 days in to a truck still being on top of us. And this woman, this lovely christian woman, explained she's also in a form of ambiguous trauma because of something she's going through with her son. And she was the one who actually taught me this idea because John and I would often get into bed at night and say, well, we failed, because now we made it through another day of working our butts off for 18, 20 hours and he's still not home. And she said, you cannot say that to yourself. You have to get into bed at night and say, I did every single thing I could today to save him. You have to change the narrative. And when she did that, it was such a gift she gave to us, because now we work as hard as we possibly can. And when we get into bed, we know that we're one step closer, even if we don't know how many more steps we have to take. It's like she gave me a lesson. She gave me her Torah of forgiving yourself when the desired goal isn't met. [00:26:52] Speaker D: That night, I struggle to find the words. And I personally am very inspired by your john and you, Rachel, your poise. And I don't want to use the word strength, because I know, Rachel, you've spoken a few times about having strength for not feeling strong. But I'd be interested to hear, if you can put it into words, how it is you're able to go through those 1820 hours, days more even, and feel as if you're putting everything in, in a situation where all of us in Israel, all of us in the diaspora, feel hopeless, feel weak, feel as if there's nothing more that we can do. So how are you able to sort of draw that strength for lack of better words? [00:27:45] Speaker C: I'd also just like to add to that, because, Rachel, in general, I've heard from anybody that reaches out to you how you respond immediately, and that's not a given in a situation that you and John are in, to be able to respond to people. And again, without not trying to sound. I can't even think of the right word. But in return, you're giving the rest of the like without necessarily realizing it. But how, in turn, both of you are turning around and just providing us with what everybody needs during these tragic, tragic days. [00:28:26] Speaker E: Well, I'll say just a couple of quick things on that, which is, number one, and this is really not meant, this false modesty, but we always talk about how we're doing everything we can to save our son, which is what any other parent we know would do to save their own loved one. And it's what 133 other families are doing right now as well. Within that, one of the answers is we could every day get up and decide, we're not getting out of bed today. Or Rachel sometimes has talked about her temptation to just roll up on the floor in a ball that isn't productive. And so we don't have that luxury. To do that, we need to be in Asia in action mode at all times. A, we need to be, and b, it just helps us get through our days. But the other piece of it is what we've been talking about for the last few minutes, which is, I really feel like we aren't on this journey alone. We are part of millions of people around the world who are now on this mission with all of the hostage families. We hear it, we see it, the strength we get in Israel, outside of Israel, from Jews, from non Jews. It's like we have to do this for Hirsch, we have to do this for ourselves, and we have to do this for the millions of people who give us strength every day, who are part of this journey. It's an obligation to keep on going, is how I look at all of it. [00:29:55] Speaker A: I agree. I mean, I think I've said before, first of all, it's not even a choice. It is literally a primal, innate, natural response of any parent. Even in the animal kingdom, if a bear thinks that you're getting too close to its cub, it goes wild. That is our natural reflex. When you think that your child is in danger, and we know our child is in danger, and so there's not a lot of thought that goes into how are we going to get up and do this again. It actually is like springing from the bed with not a lot of sleep and just running. And our friend Ruby Hen, who also has a child who is being held hostage, he know the problem is that we're in a marathon. But since we don't know how long, it's actually not a marathon, because it's much longer than a marathon, and we don't know the timing so you have to sprint because time is of the essence. And we know that time is so dangerous for these hostages. So we're sprinting marathons like ultramarathons every day to try to save these 134 souls. And I also think that there is an element of we are in trauma. But actually, when I say we, obviously, John and I, obviously the families of the entire 134, and I dare say we, the entire family of the entire Amy Israel, not the country of Israel, but the entire Amy Israel worldwide, in the most far flung places on planet earth, I think the entire people of the jewish people are in a trauma right now. And we all have to stand up and be trying to save and fix what happened to our people, and we all have to be strong to do that. And that is also going to require courage and bravery and risks. And those are things that we should be proud of doing as jewish people and that we should embrace because we are jewish people and that is what we do. [00:32:30] Speaker E: I'll just add to that we've talked about Haribin and we've talked about different segments of society, and one that we haven't mentioned, but it's Sahal, it's the soldiers and the number of them who come up to us on the street and just come over to us for a second in their gear, just heading home after 70 days of not being home and say we're doing this to bring home Hirsch and all the others. And when you hear that and you know what they're doing to try to make that happen, it's hard for us to not be doing everything we can. [00:33:10] Speaker B: So as the war does continue and in Israel, we're seeing differing opinions of how things should move forward. And I think, Rachel, you alluded this at the beginning. How can we stop bringing home the hostages from becoming a political issue or a divisive issue? How can we keep that at the forefront, separate from all discussions of how the war should move ahead? [00:33:35] Speaker A: Well, first of think, you know, it's interesting that for the first two, constantly, both of us were constantly being asked in the news outside of Israel, the worldwide news about the hostage situation, and we constantly were trying to say, and this is what my message was when I was asked to speak at the UN in New York. This is a global humanitarian crisis in the micro, separate, separate from anything that is happening. And something huge is happening in Gaza with us trying to, trying to diminish Hamas's military capacity to replicate October 7 makes sense, what I have been saying from the get go is that if the exact same constellation of people who were originally kidnapped and held hostage. If that same demographic, that baby up until 87 years old, that christian, jewish, muslim, hindu, buddhist, that cross section of humanity representing originally almost 39 countries. I said at the UN, 33, but I was corrected afterwards that they think that it was 39 countries. If all of those people had been kidnapped and taken, held hostage in Dallas, Texas, you can bet your bottom dollar that on October eigth, the entire world would have shown up to try to help them. The same way that a few years ago when those boys from Thailand who were in a soccer team ended up in that weird cave underwater. And it took weeks and weeks, but the whole world came together to help save them. So all the more so now, we now have 134 people still left who represent 19 different nations, who still represent those five different religions, and who now range in age, as we know. The youngest turned one a couple of weeks ago in January, and the oldest is now 86, because the 87 year old was released in the first group of people that were released at the end of November. What I think is ironic is that everyone was saying to me in Israel, everyone from every level down was saying, you need to convince the world this is not a political issue. This is a global humanitarian crisis. And then all of a sudden, in the last few weeks, people within Israel are trying to take this and create a political issue out of it, which I find ironic since they were sending me to go and fight that very notion. And I think that trying to divide anyone within the jewish world, trying to divide and say, these 134 people are not part of Amy Israel, I think it's actually the most cruel, sickening, and perverse thing you could possibly say to me about me. That I'm not part of this nation, that I'm not part of the jewish people, that my son is not part of this and is not valued. It's not recognizable to me. I grew up in a home that said jews value life. I grew up in a day school with Karen that taught us that one of the rules when you come into this land is you do not do molech. You don't sacrifice children and people. I also remember learning, and I said this to John two weeks ago, that I suddenly had this epiphany. And, you know, I'm thinking of Ishmael. I'm thinking of Ishmael when Ishmael and Hagar were cast out into the desert, and Ishmael starts to die because he runs out of water. And he cries out to God, he cries out to Hashem. And Hashem says, I'm going to save him. And Rashi, you know, the mephorshim say, what happened in that moment. Rashi says that the Malche ham lachim, the ministering angels, came to God and said, what? [00:38:02] Speaker E: Are you kidding? [00:38:02] Speaker A: You're going to save him. He's going to be the progenitor, the father of Amalek and Haman and all the people who are going to hurt Israel, who hurt your people in the future. He's going to be the father. If you save him, you are actually going to be hurting in the future, your people. And Hashem says, I am a God of Rahamim, and I'm saving him. And I think to myself, if God could save Ishmael, Kalva, Khomer, how can we not save our own people, our own babies, our own children, our own grandfathers, our own brothers, our own spouses who are still there, not to mention the 19 young women who are still there, who are all presumed pregnant by now. You're not going to save them. Who are we? If we don't do that, I won't recognize who we are. And so to politicize this, I think, is the most cruel, manipulative thing that anyone across any spectrum in our community or outside of the community could possibly do. [00:39:08] Speaker C: So based on that which is so unbelievably powerful and strong, what do you need from us, from Amisrael, that here we are at a date? 136. What can we do to help you? [00:39:25] Speaker E: So, people ask that question, and we always say, oh, it'd be so great if we had the answer right. But this is a complex problem. It's not a problem that can necessarily be solved by contacts or a network or money. [00:39:41] Speaker A: But there are many things you can do. [00:39:43] Speaker E: There are. And those things include, number one, prayer helps. If that's your thing, pray, send support. That all matters. Number two, it's so important that the story not fall off the radar, certainly not here in Israel, which is less of a risk. But on a global level, news cycles move on and congressional cycles move on, and we must keep these stories of 134 individuals. It's not a number. Everyone is Alamo no o, a full world in and of himself or herself. We must keep telling these stories. You could follow, bring Hirsch home. Spread the story. You could follow. Bring them home now and spread the stories. But keep the stories alive. You can call the United States administration and tell them that you're not okay with 134 hostages being held, of whom eight of them are Americans, of which six are believed to still be alive. They need to know that they must keep working until all of them come home. And increasingly, what we're saying is, do the same thing for the cabinet here in Israel. Of course, they're working on the hostage issue. We need them working on it more urgently, bringing them home today. And it must be elevated to the degree of urgency, because the one thing or one of the things that the hostages do not have is time. Time is of the essence, and we need to be working on that level of urgency. [00:41:08] Speaker A: And I would know just the last thing on that topic is that John always says the price that we will pay will be high. We know that. We all know that. That's the way it rolls here. But the price that we as a people, as a nation, as the jewish people worldwide, that we will pay if we do not bring these hostages home alive will be so much higher, because we will actually lose. It will be the worst loss when we are no longer who we claim to be or when we are no longer who we claim to have the values that we've always said that we've had. We won't be able to say that anymore if we forsake these people. And I do think that part of being jewish is you do irrational things. We have hookeem that we do that. Why are we doing shatness? We don't know. We just do it. Like, there are things that are bananas that we do. That's what we do. We're jews. We do things that are crazy. Part of it is we don't do things that are logical. We don't do things that are in the box. We say, you know what? That person's over there. We're going to save them. And we do a lot of different things that just seem like they don't make sense. And that is something we should embrace, and that is something we should be proud of. And that is something that makes us chosen, and that is what makes us holy. [00:42:42] Speaker B: Rachel and John, thank you so much for sharing your words with us, sharing your Torah with us, and sharing your time with us. Most importantly, we'd really appreciate it. And I think all we can say is, obviously, is that we hope that by the time this episode is released, if not before, then, Hirsch comes home together with all the other hostages. And please, God, that should be very soon. [00:43:09] Speaker A: Thank you very much. [00:43:11] Speaker C: Love you guys. [00:43:12] Speaker A: Thank you for having us. We appreciate it. [00:43:14] Speaker C: Thinking of you every day. [00:43:16] Speaker D: That's all we have time for this week. Ordinarily, we would give a plug of where you can buy books and get discounts. We're not going to do that on this particular episode, but please do. If you need to be in touch with us or you'd like to try and reach out to Rachel Goldberg and John Poland, please be in touch with us at Corin Publishers on social media [email protected] via email or see in the episode description for various links. Do make sure to go and follow bringhash home bring them home now for updates and to make sure, as John said, to keep the conversation going until next time. This has been the current podcast.

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