Chillul Tefila Bifarhesia, as well as halachicly challenged verbiage and dress, are external manifestations of a critical lack of personal yiras shomayim which has lethal consequences.
Pesach seemed heavier this year. I’m not talking in terms of the tremendous amount of food that was consumed or the seemingly endless lifting, bending, scrubbing, scouring and cooking that is part and parcel of pre and post Passover preparations as well as during the chag.
It was heavy emotionally. In the weeks, days and evening hours leading up to the holiday, the Yom Tov mood of many communities was subdued, even shattered, by numerous heart-breaking tragedies. In New York, New Jersey, Toronto and in Israel, there were unexpected, searing losses for several families. In Israel alone, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post, there were 167 traffic fatalities since January. One can only guess how many irreversible, life-changing injuries there were, as well.
For too many families at the seder table this year, there were unoccupied chairs.
How these families can reconcile their horrific losses and ‘celebrate’ yitzeat Mizrayim – our emancipation from the bonds of slavery can only be understood as being the ultimate testament of faith. For them there will never be ‘freedom’ from grief, guilt and the haunting contemplation of what could have been. As they go to simchas such as weddings, birthdays and holidays they will never be free of emotional pain. Feelings of anguish will envelope them like a noose that will choke and cut off whatever joy they might muster. Especially if those who they lost were children. It doesn’t matter how young or old children are – for no matter what age they attained when they were niftar, they were the sons or daughters of their mothers and fathers.
I remember an incident that took place years ago at my oldest son’s bris that took place in a small shul in a small town in Pennsylvania whose congregants were for the most part quite elderly. A wizened old man approached me and mumbled something in Yiddish that startled me and made me wonder if I had heard right. He said, “May your children sit shiva for you.” Stunned I looked at him as he smiled and shuffled away. Did this stranger basically tell me to drop dead? I decided he was demented or senile and shrugged it off. However in the days and months that followed as I held a baby burning up with fever, or who banged his head as he rolled off the bed, I understood that this wise old man had given me an incredible bracha. He had blessed me not to outlive any of my children. To not have to bear the unbearable.
It was a concept I had understood from a young age. When I was about 9-10 years old, I remember looking out of my bedroom window and looking upward. I would ‘talk’ to G-d, pleading and at the same time insisting that during my parents’ lifetime, nothing “bad” would happen to their children and future grandchildren. I already comprehended that losing a child was the ultimate human tragedy and as Holocaust survivors I pointed out to Hashem that they had paid their ‘dues’ and had suffered enough for five lifetimes. For them “Dayenu” – no more anguish or loss.
I am grateful of G-d that so it came to be. When my father Chaim ben Aron Yosef HaCohen passed away Rosh Chodesh Kislev five years ago, and when my mother was niftar two years ago 25th of Nisson, they left behind an intact family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Some of their peers were not so lucky. Many of the survivors who moved to the fledgling State of Israel, ended up burying sons and grandsons who were killed defending their beloved country against the Amaleks of the Middle East. And then there are the thousands murdered by homicide bombers being mourned by older generations.
As we remember the Shoah this week, we must acknowledge the kiddush Hashem of all the Survivors – especially those who made aliyah – who had the bitachon and faith in G-d to start over again, making themselves vulnerable to possible grief and anguish. Their love of G-d was so unquestioning that they accepted Hashem’s unfathomable actions and incomprehensible ways, and put themselves in a position where they could suffer life-wrenching loss again.
I am grateful to Hashem that my parents were not tested again. To those of my generation and my children’s, and to those who are old enough to understand horrific loss – and have sadly experienced it, may your faith in Hashem grow. So that even though you will never understand His plans and His mystifying actions, you will at least find comfort in the knowledge that one day it will all make sense. Know that the time will come when you will be reunited with your loved ones for eternity, and live in a Perfect World, praising Hashem’s wisdom.
About the Author:
You must log in to post a comment.
Leah Katz, a TeenZone camper at Oorah’s TheZone summer camp and an 11th grader at Midwood High School, read her winning essay about how TheZone changed her views on Judaism at the Jewish Heritage Awards Ceremony held at Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’s office in April. The purpose of the Jewish Heritage Essay Contest is to acquaint public school students with Jewish history and customs and to help foster a deeper understanding of Jewish culture. The contest is open to students of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Leah’s essay is reproduced in full below.
Moshe Sharett, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department, visited Egypt in 1945. In Cairo he met a most remarkable young woman, a beautiful journalist who was the darling of Egyptian high society – from high-ranking military brass, to culture icons and Muslim sheikhs, to the court of King Faruk.
The two proceeded to talk about everyday things and surprisingly her mother-in-law did not find anything else to criticize. This occurred a few more times, with my client changing the topic every time by complimenting her mother-in-law or mentioning something positive about her.
There is always a lot of confusion surrounding sensory processing disorder – mainly because there are many different diagnoses that fall under the catch-all phrase sensory processing disorder (SPD). Among them are three specific subcategories:
The doctor had warned us that even if we did everything right and followed the protocol after the follicle was of the right size, there was no guarantee of success. Fertilization still had to occur, and just like couples do not necessarily become pregnant every month, we had no way to know if we were actually expecting for two full weeks.
The next chapter of the award-winning novel.
Jewish Press columnist Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, founder and president of Hineni, the international Torah outreach organization, recently addressed an overflowing audience at the Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine in southern California. Rebbetzin Jungreis’s address theme, “Making a Good Relationship Magical,” was apropos for the evening’s main mission: raising funds for the Irvine community’s mikveh.
You have probably been planning your marriage since you were about three. Let’s fast-forward to a big milestone– your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. (Don’t worry, you don’t look a day over twenty one!) Now, would you appreciate your husband buying you a dozen roses that some florist recommended?
As I mentioned in my earlier articles about our family trip to Israel, our night flight went pretty smooth, thanks to my children’s willingness to sleep throughout the flight. I, on the other hand, didn’t sleep a wink and I wasn’t feeling too great by the time we landed. But we were finally in Israel, and just being in the beautifully renovated Ben Gurion airport and hearing all the Hebrew around us was exciting enough.
While all the flowers that grace your Shavuos table will surely be a delight to your eye, these will be a delight for your palette as well. Create them at any level, simple or sophisticated; any way you make them they’re sure to be a sensation.
Welcome back to “You’re Asking Me?” where we attempt to answer questions sent in by people who fortunately have fake names, so they won’t be embarrassed. I don’t know how they got through school, though.
Speechless wonder is the reaction to the beautiful vision seen though the Arch of the Keshet Cave at the Adamit Park in the Galilee. One of the most amazing natural wonders in Eretz Yisrael, the Me’arat Hakeshet — also known as the Rainbow Cave or Arch Cave — can be found up against the Israel-Lebanon border just a few kilometers from Rosh Hanikra and the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. It is situated amid the wild scenery on the cliffs of Nachal Betzet and Nachal Namer, on the Adamit Ridge.
One of the subjects I was taught as a young child in school was Tefillah. Since we spoke only Ivrit during our Limudei Kodesh and secular Hebrew studies – literature, creative writing and Jewish history – we pretty much understood the words we were davening.
Shortly before Pesach, I received a rather agitated call from a long time reader of The Jewish Press who pleaded with me to write a column regarding what she insisted was the unwarranted high cost of Pesach food – in particular shmurah matzah – and how hard it was for young families to pay what she felt were over-inflated prices in order to keep strictly kosher.
The price of deliberate obliviousness is very high – emotionally, physically, socially, and financially.
How is it possible that a person of seemingly normal intelligence (nowhere does it say he is simple) not have the ability to ask a question – to not react and enquire as to the why of the hustle and bustle around him?
It was one of those cold, rain-soaked evenings – the kind that make you look forward to a hot drink, a good book and a soft couch to curl up on. With those happy thoughts in mind, I proceeded to cross to the other side of the street.
The other day I was shopping at a large supermarket and happened to go down the frozen foods aisle, past the endless freezers containing every imaginable flavor, shape and size of ice cream. I rarely buy. Rather I am like a tourist in a museum – gawking at wondrous objects that I know I can’t take home with me.
He stood his ground despite the intense pressure to do what everyone else was doing. His integrity was more important to him than “fitting in.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/bearing-the-unbearable/2005/05/04/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: