A sense of shame and חילול השם

It’s somewhat ironic that during the week of Parshas Pinchas, where the grandson of Aron HaKohen, failed to consult with the Manhig HaDor, Moshe Rabeinu, and murdered the two lust-filled people who were cavorting in a tent. I hear you say that Hashem gave Pinchas the Bris of שלום albeit with a shortened Vav and there are many explanations in this regard. I will leave it to readers to refresh their memories and check the myriad of diametrically opposed explanations of this act.

Fast forward. Three תנוקות של בית רבן, Yeshiva Students of the highest calibre were short and murdered because they were Jewish. Had they been Muslims, they would not have been shot or kidnapped. The perpetrators seem to be hiding in caves somewhere in the Chevron region. Time will tell. They will be caught and they will receive, hopefully, a life sentence behind bars, with no remission, and no luxuries.

It is now pretty clear that some,  overcome with the grief of this incident coupled with their sense of vengeance felt that they could take the law into their own hands and incinerate a Muslim boy in return. This is anathema. It is anathema not just in Jewish Law, but even B’nei Noach are meant to have proper courts of laws and systems. Society cannot exist while people are taking the law into their own hands. Did they even listen to the words of the parents of the slain קדושים’s parents? Did they think that the man hunt wasn’t on an enormous scale with the aim of catching the low lives who perpetrated this disgraceful act.

Yes, we can show that we didn’t demonstrate, burn tyres, cause all range of mass violence in reaction, but some, albeit a few, had been brought up and inculcated, no different to the murderer of Yitzchak Rabin, to take the law into their own hands.

This was an opportunity to demonstrate a Kiddush Hashem. The parents were inspiring. The world was watching, and then some wild ones קנאים decided that they owned the right to respond for the parents and for the State. They too must be brought to justice, and they too must be jailed for the rest of their lives, in an Israeli Jail, without the comforts of a good living. No “Glatt Kosher/Daf HaYomi” Jail for them. They should do physical labour and go to sleep each night exhausted. For they have defamed the name of Hashem Yisborach, and that in turn defames the name and kedusha of Am Yisrael.

From afar, I do not believe in territorial concessions. I believe one must be aggressive in expansion and only this will bring the Jordanian Palestinians to their senses. Either they want one state in Yehuda and Shomron, or they do not. Until they renounce violence and completely disarm, they cannot be partners for peace. Until that time, Jews have the same right to live in the previously declared Jordanian territory as anyone else. If they don’t like it, then they should negotiate. No Israeli Prime Minister from the left of the left to the right of the right has managed to find a partner for peace. Abbas is just a pretty western suit with a coiffured moustache. It’s only a matter of time before he dies of old age or sickness and then there is nobody else. He hasn’t got the guts to do anything because, unlike Sadat, he is afraid. He is afraid that someone will blow his head off. Let him go to his grave afraid. In the meantime, there is nobody with authority or credibility to talk to.

Then there is the enemy in our midst. If a Palestinian State was to be established, then Jews should be permitted to live there. If they are not, then all Palestinians within Israel should be asked to politely leave before they are forcibly removed. We live under the façade of a holy democracy. It is an incredible democracy but it has allowed people who are not genuine citizens to pretend that they are part of Israel. Anyone not ready to sing Hatikva, fight in the IDF, and do their civic duty is not a Citizen of the State. I don’t care who they are. It’s a free world. They can go to Jordan or Yehuda VeShomron or Williamsburg and live a free life over there if they hate Israel. Let’s face it, most loathe Israel.

Ironically, the words of Aharon of Satmer are but a pimple compared the acts of these Jewish young adults.

Extremists on both sides need to be sidelined. The Meretz Morons whose philosophies are astronomically in the realm of cosmology cause as much trouble as the right wing automatons who have grown out of the ill-fated Gush Emunim movement. Rav Amital would be turning in his grave.

The Chief Rabbis should have (maybe they did) attended the funeral of the Muslim Boy, and sought out his Imam, to apologise for the extremists who decided that price tag was some sort of Hetter to commit חילול שם שמים. We don’t say ה׳ ינקום דמם for no reason. Yes, we must bring them to justice, but Hashem will ultimately deal with their future, and if he sees his people behaving with similar savagery, will he be happy? I don’t know.

What I do know, is that we cannot be Hashem’s accountants. There are all sorts of Rebbalach and more who think they know why Hashem oversees certain things. They would do better by simply following והלכת בדרכיו

We don’t need more accountancy from self-appointed accountants of Hashem’s Cheshbonos. We can only deal with the here and now. The here and now is ugly and we must not let these חיות רעות invade the HOLINESS of our religion. Theirs is a profanation that cannot be countenanced.

They aren’t Pinchas. They have no Moshe. They certainly didn’t make בריתי שלום

Give us back our boys!

I just attended the community Tehillim event at Caulfield Shule, and I felt ill at ease.

Let me explain. I do not understand what Hashem wants from us. On the one hand he wants us to follow Him and we do, to the best of our ability amongst swirling stormy seas of שונאי   ימח שמם, ישראל,  and the vicissitudes thrown up by the modern world of temptation and diversion.

I have a son in Israel, whose birthday is tomorrow עד מאה ועשרים and who is barely older than the three captives, and who was in that area a few days earlier with my daughter and son-in-law. Another son had been there a few weeks earlier with my grandson enjoying the beauty that only the Holy Land can produce.

We said Tehillim. I concentrated with all my might. I was gratified to see a good cross-section of people from the religious community in attendance, including a number of representatives from Adass. I felt we were one, but I found myself questioning why Hashem was abandoning us. קלי למה עזבתנו. Didn’t we all suffer enough from Gilad Shalit’s ordeal and the tendentious decision to release murderers in return. Will that kid ever be a “normal” person?

I am reminded at such times of the genuine tears and wailing of my Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Goldvicht ז’ל, who repeated over and over and over צעקו והשם שמע ומכל צרותם הצילם at times like these: we are behoved to audibly cry out in anguish, and God must listen and save us from all our Tzores. The atmosphere then at Kerem B’Yavneh was one of numbness. I often still feel it. I visualise it. None of us were remotely close to the essence of the Rosh Yeshivah’s cries to Hashem.

I vacillate between feeling like a speck asking Hashem to listen to my wishes, and the power of the whole, the קדושה of oneness displayed when people are conjoined by external trouble. Rav Soloveitchik wrote that this causative oneness is admirable and natural, but he exhorted that the challenge was to have such feelings when we are not drawn together by Tzaros.

The Rav felt that this higher level of קדושה was the עצמות of what קדושת העם is meant to be. It is our collective existential submission to Hashem that is qualitatively superior to individual pain or external causes that draw us together. This oneness existed at the time of the Beis Hamikdash through individuals literally being לפני השם. This then is the challenge: to feel לפני השם even when things are nice and comfortable and all is comparatively well. I’m certainly not near that level which is probably why I felt rather ill at ease. I know,  like everyone, where I need to improve and what I need to do. The challenge is doing it, and doing it as a team.

Keep

Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah
Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim
Eyal ben Iris Tesurah

uppermost in your Tefillos

[Hat tip to BA] for the following

How do you respond to sirens?

Benseon in Jerusalem described the following scene

In the middle of the Alenu of Minchah on erev Shabbos the sirens sound in Jerusalem. Everyone in the shul stops davening and starts looking around unsure of where to go or what to do. Suddenly, someone starts shouting at the chazan telling him to finish Alenu so he can say kaddish! And then, while some of us are leaving the shul to go to the bomb shelter, the rest act as if nothing has happened and proceed with Kabbolos Shabbos!

I’m not quite sure whether they were realists and decided that the rockets from Gaza had little chance of reaching central Jerusalem, or if they had supreme emunah that HaShem would protect them from the rockets if they continued with their davening!

Suffice it to say, those of us who went to the shelter returned later on feeling a bit sheepish that we had missed half the davening!

The description was disturbing to me. Does “Emunah” mean that people make some judgement call on whether Hashem could not possibly allow a situation where Hamas terrorists procured and sent a missile that just happened to hit their shul?

Is this Emunah or arrogance? The Levush in Yoreh Deah 116 clearly understands that the command of

ונשמרתם מאוד לנפשותיכם

Includes the consideration of physical danger. This is only suspended for Avoda Zara, Giluy Arayos, and Shfichus Damim. In addition it has no place when one is involved in physically fighting in a Milchemes Mitzvah. I seem to recall there is a Tshuva from Reb Moshe about the danger of playing baseball … in case one gets hit in the head.

I don’t think there is a Mitzvah to become a statistic. Tefilla is important, but it would be a fool who assumed that Hashem couldn’t hear his Tefilla in a bunker or that saying Kaddish with a minyan was worth ignoring a directive from the IDF.

Those who returned may have felt sheepish, they would have felt very different if a (stray) missile had hit the Shule and their colleagues died.

Lack of Emunah? I think not. Perhaps those who chose not to run to the bunker have too much Emunah in the Iron Dome or the proclivities of Hamas.

Ask them if they got a Psak to ignore the siren. Do tell us which Posek answered them.