Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stop Terror!

During 1978 in Bayit Vegan, six young bnei Torah were cut down in the prime of their lives. Just last week, the murderers killed another 8 in yeshivah, Hashem yikom damam.

Here are Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro’s[1] highly relevant words from that poignant time:

“We struggle for our lives. The enemy within our midst secretly plots murder and destruction and great danger is palpable before our eyes. Why don’t people make time to gather together in public prayers for Klal Yisrael? Shouldn’t we pray to prevent another calamity?[2]

“There are two possible reasons for this. Either because dead flesh can not feel a knife’s cut or people lack emunah that prayer is the address to our salvation. Rabeinu Yonah writes, ‘one should pray every day that the sick recover, the healthy not take ill, and that Hashem protect us from all harm... Above all [one should pray to Hashem that he] protect the remnant of Torah and avenge those who harm them, quickly in our days. In addition we should pray that the Holy Nation does complete teshuvah.[3]

This is the avodah of bnei hayeshivah, to join in the pain of klal Yisrael. Who can bear to hear the terrible tidings of young pure bnei Torah who died such horrible deaths? We were set for a joyous Shabbos and suddenly this? Hashem yirachem.

Rav Chaim Voluzhiner, zt”l, felt another’s pain as much as his own. He would often shed bitter tears for another’s distress. He once rebuked his son, Rav Itzeleh, zt"l, who didn’t take people’s suffering to heart as much, ‘We were not created to complete ourselves, only to join in another’s pain.[4]

“It is well known that Rav Itzeleh, served the Jewish people at great personal risk. He prepared tachrichim and a fur coat before each of many meetings with the anti-Semitic Czar. Tachrichim in case he was murdered and a fur coat in case he was exiled to Siberia.

Nevertheless, only complete commiseration with another would satisfy Rav Chaim.”

During World War I, the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, slept on the floor or a bench in the kitchen, with only his hands for a pillow. When his household asked him why, he replied, “In a time when Jewish sacrifices fall on the battlefields and our people freeze and starve every day, you expect me to sleep in a comfortable bed with a pillow and cover?![5]

Hashem should help us feel the pain and beg for salvation. Remember: every tefillah counts!

[1] Rosh Yeshivah of Be’er Ya’acov.

[2] See Shabbos, 32a.

[3] End of Sefer Hayirah.

[4] Introduction to Nefesh Hachaim.

[5] This last story brought in Mizahav Sh’vah, Shemos, 2:11.

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