The Hebron yeshiva lost 24 students during the massacre. The Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein moved the Torah academy to Jerusalem, but never really recovered from the horrors of that awful day, dying five years later. But the family tradition of Torah greatness continues, as was apparent during the Rabbi’s Torah class Saturday afternoon. Asked why the yeshiva hadn’t returned to Hebron following the 1967 Six day war, Rabbi Farbstein related that his grandfather, Rabbi Yechezkel Sarna, met with then Prime Minister Levy Eshkol to discuss this matter. ‘Eshkol,’ he said, ‘basically scared my grandfather, saying that he shouldn’t take such responsibility on himself. ‘
“However, every year, on Tisha B’Av, after reciting Lamentations, my grandfather would get on a bus and come to Hebron, to visit at Ma’arat HaMachpela.”
My encounter with the Farbsteins, and especially with Rabbanit Chana, left me full of wonder and amazement. As we left them Saturday night, I told her, ‘here in Hebron we are blessed with ‘zechut avot,’ with the birthright of our ancestors, beginning with Abraham, thru to King David, and continuing on to such heroes as your father and grandfather. We are links in a chain, trying to follow in their footsteps, to continue where they left off. “
This is our inheritance, our legacy, an eternal bequest, from time immemorial.
About the Author: David Wilder is the spokesperson for the Hebron Community.
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