Barak Nixon with the background of the Nova festival

Barak Nixon’s Reflections on Faith, Survival, and Divine Providence

Barak Nixon’s Reflections on Faith, Survival, and Divine Providence

July 4, 2024

Finding Refuge in God: Barak Nixon’s Story of Survival and Spiritual Awakening

“I was born 25 years ago in Afula…From age 13, I put on tefillin every day and would go to shul to help make the minyan. But somehow, all that started to slip during my army days and after.

…This year after Rosh Hashanah, something started to pull me from the inside. I had this inner feeling that I had to start keeping Shabbat or else something terrible would happen — and I did…

The Test

…Now it was the third Shabbat — Simchat Torah, but… I felt my resolve crumble. The big Nova music festival in Re’im was scheduled for then…although I had started to keep Shabbat, I felt this desperation, like I just had to be there or I’d miss out on something amazing…. I’m sure that the two Shabbatot I kept would protect me — that’s how I talked myself into going.

…less than an hour after we arrived, just before 6:30 in the morning, the surprise attack by Hamas was launched…I began to realize that something awful was going on here, but I didn’t fathom that my very life was in danger.

…I began to speak to Hashem. I pleaded with Him to help me get home, and I promised that if I got home safely, I’d be His best child, I’d keep every single Shabbat, and I’d urge my friends to become baalei teshuvah.

…Bodies were falling, flying in all directions… I chose to keep running, while thoughts raced through my mind that I was running in the wrong direction, because beyond the fence was Gaza.

…In front of my eyes, I saw the most horrible things I had ever seen in my life — scenes of brutality and desecration the likes of which you could not imagine and that I won’t repeat.

In G-d’s Bubble

…We decided to make a run for the toilets, when someone behind us was shot and killed and fell down right on top of my friend.

…The three of us crowded together inside the toilet stall, and Hashem put it into my head not to lock the door, so that there wouldn’t be a red marker on the outside signaling it was occupied. The terrorists were going from stall to stall, and if the door was locked, they sprayed it with automatic fire or hurled grenades at it.

…We prayed. We said Shema Yisrael. We were in there for eight and a half hours, and all we did was daven. I kept repeating, “Borei Olam, I love You so much, You’ve saved me until now. Whatever I’ve done until now, forgive me. Whatever I still need to do, I’ll do — just send me back to my parents in one piece, and I promise, if You get me back home, I will fulfill every single one of Your precepts to the letter of the law. If You save me, You’ll never have heartache from me again.”

At that point, it was totally clear: We knew we could only rely on the Borei Olam to save us. And when you know it’s only you and Hashem, you know you have to give yourself over completely. During those hours, it was just me and Him.

Protect My Soul

…toward evening, the army forces reached the festival area and began to search it. …We just heard the other bathroom doors opening, and then came the screaming — apparently from the soldiers who faced the carnage in one stall after another. But when they opened our door, there was silence. The soldiers simply didn’t believe there were any live people in this area.

Then they told us: “You’re the last three living Jews in the whole festival area. No one else survived.”

…People ask me if it’s hard for me to replay all those horrifying images in my head. But you know, amid all this pain and horror, there was also a real feeling that I could see Hashem, and I’m so happy that He was with me and granted me this huge chesed and saved me. I would never want to go through such a thing again, but I would not want to give up the closeness that I felt in that terrible place.

The Shadchan

The following week was life-altering, because that was when I met with Rav Shlomo Ofer…And it was Rav Ofer who introduced me to my bashert.

…I don’t stop thanking Hashem for the miracles He did for me, and therefore He helps me and sends me more miracles. Hashem alone healed my soul, and my life now is only for Him. My story proves that Hashem runs the show, and that everything is in His hands.

Excerpts has been taken from Mishpacha  – Jewish Family Weekly


by Chananel Shapiro