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Leiby’s Legacy


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Note to readers: When I heard the words, “You give us seven minutes and we’ll give you the world” on the radio at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, July 13, I never thought that what I was about to hear would shake me to the core and change my world forever. I could not come to myself – and I’m sure most of klal Yisrael couldn’t either. So I sat down and the following poem spilled forth. Because it is written in a simple style, simple enough for any child to understand, I hope it does not seem to trivialize what happened; it is just my humble reaction to an earth-shattering event.

 

*  *  *

 

A tzadik was born, to perform a tafkid so rare,

To make klal Yisrael express that they care.

Barely nine short years later, his mission fulfilled,

He returned to his Maker, as was willed.

 

The decree from Above seemed a harsh fall.

Why should one family take the burden for all?

But as the details unfolded, unimaginable, unreal,

It reminded me of an earlier time, when Hashem made a deal.

 

Like to Avraham about S’dom, now Hashem made a vow.

“If the klal could show achdus, then maybe somehow

The g’zar will be lifted, and you’ll all return

To the way it was before, the decree will adjourn.”

 

If in seven short minutes, every Yid would perform

A mitzvah bein adam l’chaveiro, the decree could be torn.

If in the seven minutes Leiby waited, any Yid really looked

At the lost look on his face, he would have been hooked.

 

If an onlooker had asked, “Need help? Are you waiting for your mother?”

Leiby might’ve asked him for guidance, instead of the other

But we hurried on by, didn’t volunteer to assist,

The clock ticked on, the surveillance camera hissed.

 

And the monster paid his bill, and emerged to the boy

Did he come with a promise of a TV or a toy?

Leiby followed behind, like no father would ask,

Cause the man’s mind was focused on his dastardly task.

 

The seven minutes we wasted, not looking not seeing;

The seven minutes he waited while we were too busy “me”ing.

An opportunity lost to set Leiby on a good path,

Away from the monster, away from his wrath.

 

Now there’s no turning back, no way to undo,

Just trust in Hashem as an ehrlicha Jew.

And we must surrender and beg Hashem to forgive,

Though we’ll never understand as long as we live.

 

Don’t you all remember in yeshiva we learned

Of magefos and troubles and Jews that were burned?

And the pasuk just prior described all their bad deeds

And all of the mitzvos they neglected to heed.

We all read aloud and said to ourselves with a smirk,

Didn’t that generation realize they were acting like jerks?

Why couldn’t they see just one pasuk behind,

That their deeds and actions were causing this bind?

 

And we, our history yet unrecorded, we too don’t look within,

We point and we blame someone else for our sins.

Hashem, He asks only that we follow His Torah,

And then we will see, “LaYehudim Ha’yesa Orah.”

 

We too are blind to the warnings, we are blind to our plight,

We don’t see our own monsters hiding in the dark of night.

And so Hashem creates a tzadik to show us the way,

To really look at each other every night and every day.

 

To weed out the monsters, not hide them from view,

And help protect our children from what they could do.

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Note to readers: When I heard the words, “You give us seven minutes and we’ll give you the world” on the radio at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, July 13, I never thought that what I was about to hear would shake me to the core and change my world forever. I could not come to myself – and I’m sure most of klal Yisraelcouldn’t either. So I sat down and the following poem spilled forth. Because it is written in a simple style, simple enough for any child to understand, I hope it does not seem to trivialize what happened; it is just my humble reaction to an earth-shattering event.

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