After a week of physical enjoyment, the delegation of ten wounded IDF soldiers visited the Ohel and 770 Friday as they opened their hearts and minds for some spiritual nourishment.
Hosted by Rabbi Uriel and Shevy Vigler of Chabad Isreal Center of the Upper East Side, and accompanied by Rabbi Kutner from Chabad Terror Victims Project, the ten wounded soldiers arrived at the Ohel in anticipation of requesting blessings of health and success from the Rebbe.
As they prepared to go in inside the tent, Ben Shpitzer asked Rabbi Menachem Kutner if he could put on tefillin before he actually goes inside the ohel to pray. He explained that the last time he put on tefillin was just before he went into Gaza and was wounded and he felt that the tefillin had save his life.
“I felt as if I was struck with lightning when I heard these words” said Rabbi Vigler. Here is a soldier who was severely wounded in Gaza. In fact the most badly wounded soldier in the battle. He lost one arm, the other paralyzed. He needs two full time aides to go about his daily functions and here he is saying that the tefillin saved his life”.
His father Ofer who is accompanying him on the trip saw Ben putting on tefillin then said, “even though I have never put on tefillin before in my life, if my son Ben is putting on tefillin then I would also like to”, and he then proceeded to put them on as well.
After the Ohel the soldiers had the opportunity to visit the Rebbe’s room. A place where Israeli heads of state and military and political factions once sat soaking in the Rebbe’s advice, the soldiers heard from Rabbi Kutner how the Rebbe had a special place in his heart for Metzyonei Tzahal and how his love for them knew no bounds.
As the soldiers left 770 one of them conferred to Rabbi Vigler how depressed he was a few months ago. “I was on the point of suicide – that’s how bad it was, until Rabbi Menachem Kutner offered him to come on this trip to Manhattan. This past week has been the happiest week of my life since I was injured. I truly feel this trip has given me a new breath of life”.