The Power of a Father’s Love

Few things are more powerful than a father’s love for his children. On October 7th, Sa’ar Axelrod, a courageous Jewish father, proved that.

Sa’ar is a 36-year-old tech worker who was living a peaceful life in central Israel with his wife, Sharon, and their infant son. Most recently, the young couple have been eagerly awaiting the birth of their second child, a daughter. But everything changed on October 7th, 2023. After the Hamas Massacre of over 1200 Jews and Israelis, and the subsequent war against Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah rockets began raining down on Israel’s northern border as well. Israel was being attacked on multiple fronts.
And Sa’ar was called up to serve in a combat unit defending his country on the Northern border. He would spend the next five harrowing months on the front lines, leaving behind his happy life and young family.

For Sa’ar, defending his country is about more than just duty – it’s about securing a safe future for his people and, more importantly, for his own children. He put his life on the line so that his son and unborn daughter could grow up in a world free from the threat of rockets and terror. Every day he spends on the battlefield is a sacrifice he makes willingly for the ones he loves most.

Then, the unthinkable happened on the morning of February 14th, 2024. A missile scored a direct hit just 5 meters from Sa’ar’s position. With only seconds to make it to the safe room, Sa’ar was hit. Injured, he lay in a pool of his own blood, his body pierced by shrapnel. His skull was fractured, and Sa’ar incurred a traumatic brain injury. In those agonizing moments, most of Sa’ar’s thoughts were of his 10-month-old son. “I told myself there’s no way he’s going to grow up without his father,” Sa’ar later recalled. He thought of his pregnant wife Sharon, left alone to raise their children. They needed him. He needed them. He had to survive.

Miraculously, Sa’ar held on to life in those critical minutes until rescue arrived. An officer tended to his wounds, at first telling him he just had a “little scratch” to keep him calm when in truth, he was in grave condition. Sa’ar was airlifted to a hospital for emergency surgery to remove shrapnel, repair his intestines, and stop the bleeding that nearly claimed his life. He is now spending months in the hospital recovering from his traumatic brain injury, nerve damage, and other devastating injuries.

Sa’ar put the welfare of his children above his own life. He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice so they could have a beautiful and meaningful future in Israel. Yet, a Sa’ar lay, broken and bleeding on the battlefield, all he could think about was his family. Ultimately, his love for them gave him the superhuman strength to stay alive.

Today, Sa’ar remains hospitalized, undergoing intensive rehabilitation with a long recovery still ahead. He faces mounting medical bills, lost income, and an uncertain future. But his one driving goal is to heal so he can return home to his children. “My biggest dream is to return home and lift my baby with both hands,” he says. “That’s what I’m thinking about every morning and every night before I go to sleep.”

This Father’s Day, let us honor courageous fathers like Sa’ar Axelrod, who exemplify the eternal truth that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another. Like Judah before him, Sa’ar was willing to give up everything to be there for his family and to create a safer world for them to inherit.

As we reflect on the sacrifices made by this father, let us also remember the challenges faced by modern-day Israeli families like the Axelrods. If you feel moved to help, your contribution can make a meaningful difference in supporting Sa’ar’s family during this difficult time. By coming together as a community, we can express our appreciation for those who dedicate themselves to ensuring Israel’s safety and well-being.

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