The heinous and cruel murders in Mumbai were merely the latest in a long line of such crimes against Jews perpetrated by Islamo-Nazis and abetted by their leftist supporters on the pretext of opposition to Israel – as if that were a legitimate reason to commit war crimes and racist mass murder.
But there is something different about the Mumbai atrocity – something worth reflecting on as we mark the shloshim of the victims.
It ought to be painfully obvious to every Jew in the world – whatever the level of his religious affiliation – that had he been in the Chabad House in Mumbai at the time of the attack, he too would have been tortured and killed for being Jewish.
Indeed, even a Jew who marches in support of the Palestinians and who hates Israel and all things Jewish would have been killed for being Jewish, had he been there.
Any Jew is a legitimate target to these depraved people. The Mumbai Chabad House was not in Israel, and the Jews in Mumbai had nothing to do with Zionism. They were about Shabbat, kosher food, prayer, and learning Torah.
Sadly, it is too much to expect that the majority of Jews will learn anything, let alone comprehend and accept reality.
Here in the UK, the general media refused to use the word “terrorist,” finding all sorts of euphemisms. One well-known TV anchor even came up with a new one: “practitioners.” The media tended to play down or ignore the deliberate targeting of Jews. Even some of the secular Jewish media played down the horrific aspects of what was done in Mumbai.
They would all like to forget what happened and sweep it into the dustbin of history. It simply does not fit with their worldview or the political agenda of Europe.
But this evil must not be forgotten. The cries of a two year old for the mother he will never see again and by whom he will never be held again should touch all of us. A five year old reciting Kaddish for a father who will never again say the Shema with him ought to stay with each of us.
We should build on what happened and honor the souls and preserve the memory of those who died for the sake of the Divine Name. We need to remember them and what happened to them. If we fail them, we fail ourselves.
What can we do? Retribution, and a reckoning, will surely come to the wicked – those who sent the killers, those who support them, those who shamefully justify what they did, and the politicians who disgracefully pander to them. But there are things that each and every one of us can do now to combat this darkness.
The father of Rivkah Holtzberg, hy”d, said we should fight these monsters with gemilat chesed – acts of loving kindness. And the spiritual power of this should not be underestimated.
But there is something else we can do. We can strive for achdut – solidarity, concord, unity. It is a lasting stain that Orthodox Jews, all of whom venerate the same Torah, observe the same commandments, study the same books and revere the same rabbis, cannot come together.
There is no reason why we cannnot have differences. But let these differences be as those between Hillel and Shammai, whose clash of ideas laid the foundation for Jewish survival and whose differences were built on mutual respect. Instead, our differences are as those of Korach and his company: destructive, corrosive, and spiritually diminishing.
The rabbis have long taught the power and importance of achdut. We have now a precious opportunity to build achdut. If we let it pass, then we as a people will be held to account.
Achdut is a feeling, but it is also based on structures and relationships that need to be developed. We should not pretend it is an easy thing to do. But we can start the process by something very simple: Torah observant Jews in Israel of every type – haredi, chassidic, yeshivish, Sephardi, Ashkenazi, National Religious, Modern Orthodox – should gather together in Jerusalem, the center of the Jewish world, to say prayers and Psalms in honor of those killed in Mumbai.