Dr Judith Guedalia

Bringing on the Redemption via South East Asia

12 January 2005

A few weeks ago the Trauma Team of Shaare Zedek Medical Center were informed of an upcoming ‘drill' with the Home Front (similar to the U.S. Dept. of Home Security).  We were supposed to update the ER response to potential chemical/gas warfare.  Over the years we have had many such drills.  During previous drills the male soldiers were given ‘parts/roles' to play in a ‘script'; they might ‘play' be a child or woman who was injured by chemical or gas warfare.  We were informed as to what the code for the drill will on our beepers or cell phones, and mentally prepared for the ‘event'._option_option_option_option

The drill was cancelled because a natural disaster, the Tsunami, a tidal wave following an earthquake, happened in South East Asia. How you might ask did this tragic event for so many affect a national drill at a Jerusalem hospital?

The answer is the Home Front now mobilized its team to go to predominantly Moslem Sri Lanka and Indonesia.   ‘Hatzalah Yosh', the Emergency Medical Response Team for Yehudah ve' Shomron, acronym Yosh- or the geographical areas of Judah and Samaria here in Israel, is there too.   This organization was established in October 2000, following the outbreak of the ‘newest' Intifada. The predominantly Kippah wearing volunteer medical group operates in order to save lives, provides first aid, and acts as additional medical forces in security areas in Israel. The organization acts in full cooperation with the IDF, security services and civil representatives.  Representatives from Zaka, the Haredi organization whose volunteers work identifying the dead and collecting body parts for that purpose also went.   Many other traumatologists (specialists in the field of trauma both medical and psychological), that I know personally, are getting ready to go there if they haven't left already.

Why, you might ask, did they go?  Why would Israeli's go to areas where they are not wanted (the local government of Indonesia at first rebuffed Israel's offer of aid), and might be in physical danger not only from the post Tsunami conditions of crumbling buildings and disease, but also from ‘local' anti-Israeli militants?

The answer may be found in Israel's Chief Rabbi Metzger's statement that he felt that the Jewish nation held a moral obligation that could not be overlooked, and this was to aid the helpless people, the Hatzalah Yosh delegation was given the added blessings of the former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. 

What about the money and manpower this costs?  What about the time away from other local ‘jobs'.  I imagine that if one life is saved in Israel or around the world by ‘outsiders' observing the selflessness and ‘Firgun' (Yiddish/Hebrew word loosely translated as ‘the-ability-to-give-to-another') of Israel, then it is indeed Hatzolat Nefashot- saving a life, which transcends any other Mitzvah and brings forth the Geula /Redemption.  May it be so.

Tags: Hatzalah Yosh | Saving A Life | Tsunami | Zaka