How to Change Your Mazal by Michael Winner/10/26/2023 My wife received this email that was sent to a group she belongs to:"You won't believe this. My son in Tzanchanim (Paratroopers) 890 mentioned to me last night that every single boy in his unit has begun wearing tzitzit every day (even the most secular boys). In the last week, they've reveived visits from Rav Grossman shlita, Rav Zamir Cohen shlita, Rav Guetta shlita, and many more. Being that they've all experienced deep tragedy, but also seen great miracles, they're inspired, they're lit up, and...they're also scared. It's an emotional time, and they are turning to Hashem. My son also mentioned nonchalantly that there's a long line every morning to borrow his tefillin. He is one of only a handful of boys (out of 65) who owns tefillin. Does anyone know of an irgun or chesed organization that gives tefillin to soldiers? They want tefillin now more than cookies, cigarettes, and hot food. "Somebody sent us a clip from one of the news sites on Israeli television. In it, one of the hosts (I assume) was saying, "The Jewish nation does not run by nature, it is above nature … " The woman herself was religious, but the fact that such a thing is being said on Israeli television says something. Most notable to me though was the little icon for their station that was kept on the top left hand corner of the screen.The "motto" of the war is "b'yachad n'nazteyach," "together we will be victorious." It's everywhere. Even the receipt at our local store has it printed on it. It's a wonderful saying, very moving, and very powerful. But it's missing one "small" ingredient. And this station actually got it right. Instead of printing it as their icon, they wrote, "b'ezras Hashem, b'yachad n'natzeyach," "with the help of Hashem, together we will be victorious."I don't remember seeing these things in previous operations.There are several places within the Gemara which speak about one's mazal, and the effect that each person's mazal has on them. If you're born during this time, you will have these tendencies, if you are born during that time, you will have those tendencies. And yet, in this week's parsha, we see that we're above mazal. When Avraham told Hashem that he has no children to follow him, Hashem "took him outside and said, 'Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them'—continuing, 'So shall your offspring be.'"A person's mazal is real. A nation's judgement (on Rosh Hashana) is real. However, we have the power to make a change in that and to lift ourselves above it.The first is the power of davening. The Gemara (Baba Mezia 79a) states, "all the gates [to Heaven] are closed with the exception of the Gate of Tears." When a person cries out to Hashem, whether in their regular davening in shul or at home, while sitting alone, the pain a person feels for whatever tragedy they are suffering from, has the power to change their situation. And the opposite is true as well. When we go to a simcha, we wish "mazal tov." It's not simply a nice thing to say. It's a real bracha! When we wish them a "mazal tov" with true feelings, we are giving a real, live bracha that their mazal should be good.Another is through Torah. In the beginning of Shmuel I, we find that the sons of Eli HaKohen were misusing their positions as Kohanim in the Mishkan. It caused great suffering and it desecrated Hashem's name. Hashem put a curse on Eli's family, that none of his descendants should live long. Yet, we see in the Gemara that his descendants, Rabba and Abaye, lived long lives. When asked about how they can escape such a curse, they replied that Torah and kindness that they were constantly involved in, overpowered the curse.Which also brings us to acts of kindness. The Gemara (Baba Basra 11a) tells a story of Binyamin HaTzaddik, who was in charge of giving tzedakah from the communal funds. Once, when a woman came with her children, asking for money since they were on the brink of starvation, he personally gave from his money to support them, since the communal funds were empty. When it was his time to leave this world, the Gemara states, the Heavens erupted crying out, how could he die? This is the same person who saved a family from death! Immediately, the decree was ripped up and he was granted another twenty-two years.Through prayer, Torah, and acts of kindness, we have the power to make changes in not only the next world, but also this. We are not on the level to see those changes (though sometimes we merit to see it), but we do have the Torah to testify for us, that they do indeed work.In these times, the Jewish people are in real danger. And if one thinks that it's only limited to those living in Eretz Yisroel, they are sorely mistaken. Antisemitism is on the rise around the world and we have no place to run. The only thing we can do is make a sincere effort to change the judgment we received not so long ago with these three tools at our disposal.With that, I wish us all a very quiet Shabbos.