web analytics
May 25, 2015 / 7 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Jews Weren’t The Only Ones Who Heard Leiby’s Cry


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

In my last column I wrote about Leiby Kletzky and what I experienced when I made a shiva call to his family. My plan was to continue writing about this tragedy and focus on what we must learn from it and do. In the interim, I received a letter from a non-Jewish reader and felt I should share it.

Tragically, the world is once again turning against us, but we know that nothing happens randomly – that G-d is always watching us. If our world is becoming darker with every passing moment, it is pointless for us to curse the darkness, for we Jews know we have to search our souls to “find the light” that will illuminate the world with the light of G-d, for that is the only way we, who sealed a covenant with G-d at Sinai and heard the command “You shall be a light unto the nations,” can banish the darkness that becomes more menacing with every passing moment.

Next week, b’ezras Hashem, I hope to spell out what, exactly, that demands of us as individuals and as a nation. Meanwhile, the following is a somewhat shortened version of the letter alluded to above.

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis,

Your latest column was very moving, and I look forward to the continuation. The gruesome murder of this child is, like murder in general, nearly beyond belief. Nearly, in that we have seen such horrors before. Rebbetzin, please know I hold you in deepest respect and admiration, but feel I must offer an opinion. I mean no disrespect or insult, so please bear with me.

With no disrespect, I don’t believe Jews are better than other people (I mean this as to people as a whole, not individuals). However, I was always taught that the Jewish people were chosen by G-d to live the Torah life and to bring the rest of the world to Torah. As you would say, this is an awesome responsibility.

We see throughout the pages of Torah and in life itself that there are always those who transgress, some in horrible ways. We are appalled to see people, many wearing religious garb (priests, ministers, rabbis, cantors) performing terrible deeds. The Catholic Church has, for me, lost all credibility in its sinful handling of years of systematized pedophilia and sexual deviance. Jews have succeeded in bringing Torah and G-d to the world. There will always be individual exceptions, but you and your people have completed a great mission.

On the morning I learned of little Leiby’s death, I was, of course, greatly saddened. I was even more saddened to hear that one of his own people, in a neighborhood in which Leiby knew no fear, had murdered him. The thing that made me cry, however, was the revelation that Leiby had been petitioning his parents for some time to be able to walk home from camp, and this was the first day he was to do so.

He pleaded and cajoled, and when they consented, they embarked on relentless instruction and dry runs. Of course parents are nervous and anxious – this is a big step – and their little boy was exhibiting the first signs of autonomy, of steps away from the parents and of younger childhood. He was doing what normal kids do.

What could really go wrong? He would be walking a few blocks in a neighborhood where he’d lived his whole life and from which he’d rarely ventured. With normal parental trepidation, they sent him out that morning, with the expectation they would meet him that afternoon at the end of their well-planned route.

My first thoughts on learning of his disappearance were that he, like many an 8-year-old child, boys in particular and no matter how well instructed, had become intrigued with something (or someone) that took him out of his way. I don’t know the parameters of his neighborhood, but I was fully expecting to hear he had experienced some sort of accident. To learn he had been murdered so horribly was a shock.

We will never know what happened, as the circumstances of his death don’t seem to add up and the defendant is unreliable. This little boy had no reason to fear this person who, though personally unknown to him, was obviously a member of his community.

Certainly the sketchy existence of the defendant warrants a closer look. What were we (I include those outside of his community and non-Jews, in that the murderer traveled a great deal and had much contact outside the community) all missing?

What does it take for us to pay attention to one another? What has to happen for us to wake up and realize we are responsible one for the other?

I converted to Catholicism from Protestantism many years ago. (I cannot relay the reasons for this as it’s a long story, and I’m fuzzy as to my own reasoning or lack thereof.) Anyway, I’m no longer affiliated, for many reasons, but that’s not important. One morning, the priest at my local church gave a sermon that spoke of people crying out to G-d to end their afflictions, to heal the world and to end war and suffering. I went up to him after the Mass and we spoke. I said, Father, ending suffering and war is not G-d’s job. It’s ours. He agreed, acknowledging the Torah.

I had learned that message from you, Rebbetzin.

I never knew little Leiby, yet I cannot believe he’s gone. I grieve for his family and am so glad they kept away from the press. I was also glad to read that you visited them, as I knew you would.

This is not the last horrible thing that will happen to a child, or to anybody. Sometimes it’s difficult to get up and go on when you know of all the terrible things that happen in the world, or that may happen to your loved ones or yourself. We cannot, however, do otherwise than to get up and go about our lives.

It’s just a shame more of us of us can’t take a bit more time to read and interpret the needs and fears and aspirations of people other than ourselves.

Whether one is a Jew or not, believer or non-believer, living a Torah life seems to me to be the only reasonable choice.

Thank you, once again, for your wonderful columns.

Leslie Weeden

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Jews Weren’t The Only Ones Who Heard Leiby’s Cry”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former Israel Ambassador to the UN Dore Gold.
Bibi Seals Nationalist Policy with Dore Gold Heading Foreign Ministry
Latest Judaism Stories
Leff-052215

There is a great debate as to whether this story actually took place or is simply a metaphor, a prophetic vision shown to Hoshea by Hashem.

Staum-052215

Every person is presented with moments when he/she must make difficult decisions about how to proceed.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

One does not necessarily share the opinions of one’s brother. One may disapprove of his actions, values, and/or beliefs. However, with brothers there is a bond of love and caring that transcends all differences.

Torah

This Shavuot let’s give G-d a gift too: Let’s make this year different by doing just 1 more mitzvah

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if […]

God and the divine origin of His Torah are facts even though we do not fully comprehend them.

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

The question is: What about pidyon haben? Can one give the five sela’im required for pidyon haben to a kohen’s daughter?

In Parshas Pinchas the Torah introduces the Mussaf for Shavuos by describing it as Yom HaBikurim when we bring the new offering.

Rachel was thrown by the sight and began to caringly think whom this person might be.

The desert, with its unearthly silence & emptiness, is the condition in which the Word can be heard

The census focused on the individual, proving each is created as irreplaceable, unique images of God

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

The Honor Of Reading The Kesubah
‘Witnesses Sign Only After Reading…’
(Kesubos 109a)

Why does the Torah use two different words for “to count,” and what does each indicate?

From Bemidbar on and in Nevi’im, the nation is viewed primarily by its component parts, the tribes

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Jewish survival in a dysfunctional world requires women assuming the role Hashem gave them at Sinai

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

In every generation is the challenge to purge the culture of our exile from our minds and our hearts

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Pesach bonds families and generations: “So that you may relate it to your son and your son’s son.

Amalek’s hate never dies; its descendants are eternal & omnipresent; Hashem is our only protection

I try to be observant, davening daily, but it hasn’t awakened my heart or my mind or changed my life

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

“Surely,” my family insisted, “there must be someone suitable for you. You can’t be so picky.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/jews-werent-the-only-ones-who-heard-leibys-cry/2011/08/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: