As the situation worsens in Ukraine, Jews in Kiev were given the go ahead to travel on Shabbos in order to evacuate. A ruling similar to this had been given to the Jewish population in Miami, when an impending hurricane had been deemed dangerous enough to evacuate on the Sabbath, several years ago. Only to preserve life is such a ruling of this kind ever made and granted by a leading rabbi. When the ruling for Miami was made, it was based on one word spoken by one of the rabbonim gedolim in Israel; that one word was “sakana,” meaning “danger.” And, certainly the population of Kiev and elsewhere in the Ukraine is in danger of being caught up in harm’s way as the Russian invasion continues.
The openness of Ukraine’s neighbors, including Poland and Hungaria is a plus, inasmuch that refugees are being welcomed into these and other countries. Men between 18 and 60 who are able to defend the country are forbidden to leave, according to the Ukranian president. The rabbis of many Ukranian cities like in Kharkov and Dnipro are remaining to care for their communities. This is a commitment that many of them had made, from the onset of their tenure. The reality of remaining committed under such adverse conditions is a test of their faith in G-d, and an assurance of their faithfulness toward the communities where they preside. They also seek to bring relief to all locals in the cities where they are located. Many of them are Chabad rabbis.