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October 30, 2014 / 6 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Beis Hamikdash’

Weeping for Jerusalem

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

I’m in Jerusalem, the city every Jew should be in love with. The world has become a very small place; in the blink of an eye we can cross continents. We belong to the generation that can visit so many cities, so many villages, so many vacation sites. After a while we become immune to them all. But Jerusalem is different.

If you are a Jew, Jerusalem is in your blood. It’s a city engraved upon your heart. Centuries ago Yehuda HaLevi wrote, “My heart is in the East while I am in the West.” No matter where life has taken us, our hearts have forever remained in the East, in Jerusalem.

When I was a little girl in Hungary I may not have known where Paris or Rome was but I did know the location of Jerusalem. My parents of blessed memory, HaRav HaGoan Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, and Rebbetzin Miriam Jungreis, a”h, nurtured us with the milk and honey of Yerushalayim. Nowadays, few still thirst for that sweetness. And yet, with all the distractions of modern life, Yerushalayim tugs at our hearts.

I just saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears the veracity of this connection between the Jew and this Holy City.

I was speaking at the Great Synagogue. There was no spare seat to be had and despite the lateness of the night people kept coming. Many lingered after I finished my speech. Some sought advice and guidance. Others just wanted to talk.

Above all they asked for berachos – for shidduchim, for health, for sustenance. And then a tall, lovely, blond-haired girl stood before me. She was crying. Something prompted me to ask, “Are you Jewish?” Her voice cracking with tears, she whispered, “I’m a convert. I came to Yerushalayim to become part of the Jewish people.”

She explained that she came from a country where Jews had been beaten and tortured and maimed and killed during the Holocaust. But her soul whispered the message, “Go, join the people who stood at Sinai; go to Jerusalem!”

I naturally assumed she sought a blessing for a good shidduch. “No, no,” she protested, “that’s not why I’m here. You just related a story that entered my soul. Please bless me with the ability of not forgetting.”

And then she repeated one of the stories I had told in my address.

The story was about a mother who lost her husband and eleven of her children in Auschwitz. She made aliyah but still had no peace. She couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t work. She couldn’t come to terms with her fate.

She sought out a rebbe – perhaps he would offer her some consolation. She spilled out her heart and described each and every one of her children. The rebbe listened and wept with her. And then he said something amazing. “I think I saw someone among the newly arrived children now settled in a kibbutz who fits the description of your Dovidl.”

The rebbe told her he would try to trace the lineage of that child.

A few days later the rebbe called. “I may have some good news for you,” he said. Heart pounding, she returned to the rebbe’s home – and there was her little boy.

“Dovidl, Dovidl,” she shouted. “Mama, mama,” he sobbed as he ran into her arms. When the little boy caught his breath he asked a painful question. “Where is my father? Where are Moishele and Rochele?” As Dovidl enumerated the names of all his brothers and sisters, he and his mother cried uncontrollably. They continued to weep long into the night.

As I told that story, I remarked to the audience that it occurred to me that Dovidl’s children and grandchildren have no memory of those who preceded them. Similarly, we come to Israel, rush off the plane, pick up our luggage and make our way to Jerusalem. And what do we think about?

We’re busy asking ourselves and each other, “Where is a good place to eat?” “Any new restaurants around?” “Did you try out that new hotel?” “Is it worth it the price?”

But do any of us ask, “Where is the Beis HaMikdash?” Does anyone really miss the Beis HaMikdash? Does anyone search for it? Does anyone even think about it? Does anyone even want to remember?

The girl who stood before me begged with tears, “Please, Rebbetzin, give me a berachah that I should never forget to cry for the Beis HaMikdash. I’m so afraid I will forget and become oblivious to its loss. I do not want to be like Dovidl’s children.”

I could only look at her. She had taken my breath away. I couldn’t recall anyone ever asking me for such a berachah – to be able to remain constantly aware of the Beis HaMikdash and, yes, to weep for it.

For thousands of years we prayed, wept and hoped for Yerushalayim. To see Yerushalayim again, to behold the rebuilt Beis HaMikdash, has always been the center of all our prayers. At our weddings, in the midst of our joy, we break a glass to remember our Temple that is no more. When painting our homes we would leave a small spot empty to remind us that no home can be complete if the Beis HaMikdash has not been rebuilt.

We have a thousand and one reminders in our prayers, in our traditions, in our observance, that constantly recall to us Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. And yet, now that we have Jerusalem again we have somehow forgotten our dream – our Beis HaMikdash that we prayed for and continue to pray for.

Sadly, our prayers for the Temple have become just words recited by rote. And here comes a young woman new to our faith and she seeks a blessing not for shidduch, not for parnassah, not for good health, nor for personal happiness – but for the ability to shed tears and yearn to see the Beis HaMikdash rebuilt. Should that not give us all pause? Should that not make us think and consider?

Should we not ask again and again and still again, “Where is the Beis HaMikdash?” I miss it so. I’m in Jerusalem but the shinning crown of the Holy City is absent and my joy cannot be complete until I see its glory restored.

Exacting Vengeance on the Gentiles?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Once again we are treated to the sight of very religious looking Jews acting like a street gang. A statue of a cross with a figure of Jesus on it was defaced by a group of Breslover Chasidim in Uman. The cross was recently erected opposite the grave of the founder of this Chasidus, Rav Nachman of Breslov – located in the Ukrainian city of Uman. From JTA:

“To exact vengeance on the gentiles,” reads the message, which was scrawled across the torso of a figure of Jesus. A further inscription on Jesus’ leg reads, “Stop desecrating the name of God.”

This kind of thing would not surprise me if it were being done by extremists from a community that embraces an isolationist lifestyle. But although they are hardcore Chasidim who dress and look much the same as Satmar Chasidim – Breslovers do a lot of outreach. I would expect them to know how to behave in a more civilized manner. They must have had a socialization process that taught them that or they could not do outreach. And yet here they have acted in a completely uncivilized way.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that a Christian symbol near their venerated Rebbe’s grave site was desecrated with graffiti. I guess their socialization process goes just so far. A statue of Jesus so close to their Rebbe’s grave site was too much to handle.

I don’t know why the Ukrainian Government chose that site for its statue. I don’t think it was a wise decision. But at the same time, I don’t think it was necessarily meant to ‘stick it’ to the Breslovers either. It was probably just not a well thought out plan.

I can understand why these Chasidim felt outrage. They consider the Breslover Rebbe’s gravesite to be so holy that make annual pilgrimages to it. Tens of thousands of Jews (mostly Breslover Chasidim) from all over the world visit it during Rosh Hashanah – one of the holiest times of the year. It is almost as though they were making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem’s Holy Temple. Seeing the sight of Jesus on a cross must have made them feel like they were seeing Avodah Zara in the Beis HaMikdash.

The outrage is understandable. But their expression of it is inexcusable. It is the kind of behavior that can bring tragedy upon the Jewish people. Uman is not Jerusalem. R. Nachman’s gravesite is not the Beis HaMikdash. The citizens of Uman are their hosts. Breslovers are guests. And the guests have just defaced the image of the god their hosts worship.

The more responsible Breslover leadership has apologized. Sort of. From JTA:

“We respect other religions, and don’t wish to damage symbols of other religions. But, unfortunately, not all of our coreligionists understand this. They could break or destroy the cross. That would lead to a genuine war between hasidim and Christians. We cannot allow that, so we request that the cross be moved to a different location,” said Shimon Busquila, a representative of the Rabbi Nachman International Fund…

It may have been a legitimate request. But it was made too late. If made at all it should have been made politely before the statue was vandalized. Nonetheless the deputy mayor of Uman agreed with it.

On the other hand the citizens of Uman were so outraged by the vandalism – that they will have no part of moving the statue. They promised retaliation against Rav Nachman’s grave if it is moved. I can’t say that I blame them.

I think the point to be made here is contained in the response made by Shimon Busquila: ‘…not all of our coreligionists understand this’.

That is exactly the problem. Why don’t they understand this? It is not enough for a leader to simply say that some of their co-religionists do not understand the consequences of being uncivilized – thereby damaging the property of their hosts.  Especially their religious symbols. No matter how upsetting it is to them.

The Chasidim who did this are taught to hate non Jewish religious symbols much more than they are taught to behave in civilized ways when encountering them. So when they get upset at the sight of one of those hated symbols, they react in ways that bring ill repute upon – and ill will against – our people. They do so without thinking or perhaps even caring about the consequences.

Internet Filtering – It Starts With Your Mouth

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Let me assure you that the purpose of this article is not to weigh in on the recent Internet Asifa (gathering) that was held at Citifield in New York. Suffice it to say, that irrespective of one’s views regarding the execution and specifics of this unprecedented event, it should be crystal clear to every sane adult that Gedolei Yisroel have brought to the forefront the perils that accompany the recent monumental advances in modern technology. It is incumbent on each and every individual to devise and implement a personal plan of action that will protect his/her family from one of the greatest dangers of the 21st century.

We must do our personal hishtadlus (individual efforts), and rely on siyatah d’Shmayah (Divine assistance) to bring our efforts to fruition. The various suggestions being put forth to filter the Internet to a level appropriate for each individual and family is part of our hishtadlus. However, there is a prerequisite to this filter that is, unfortunately, being ignored by too many. To fight the external forces of the Yetzer Hara, we must first conquer the challenges that lie within our own rank and file. History repeatedly proves that the first step in conquering the external enemy is to ensure that we possess a unified front internally. The only way to accomplish this is to invoke the assistance of Hashem; without siyatah d’Shmayah, all are efforts will unfortunately fall short, and our mission will be bound for failure.

So what is this prerequisite? Let’s revisit how Yaakov Avinu prepared for battle against Esav, the ultimate symbol of the yetzer hara in his generation. Before preparing a strategic battle plan, he turned to Hashem, utilizing the power of tefillah as his first and most powerful weapon. Today, that power, that koach that comes from davening, is still the greatest weapon we can use to combat the dangers we face as individuals and as a nation.

Parshas Matos begins with a discussion of the laws relating to a personal vow or oath. What is unique about the way this topic is introduced is that it’s missing the traditional lead-in pasuk of “Vayomer/Va’yidaber Hashem el Moshe laymor.” Instead it begins Vayomer Moshe el Roshei HaMatos – Moshe says to the leaders of the shevatim. Why is the introduction here different?

Rav Moshe Feinstein z”tl, in his classic commentary on the Torah, Darash Moshe, teaches that we can learn a profound lesson from the manner in which these laws are presented to the Jewish nation. Of all of Hashem’s worldly creations, only humans have been granted the power of speech, the ability to communicate verbally and only man has been created b’tzelem Elokim – in G-d’s image. Rav Moshe ascertains that we don’t need the pasukVayomer/Va’yidaber Hashem el Moshe laymor” to introduce the laws of proper use of dibbur, of speech. It’s abundantly obvious that this precious gift is only to be used in a manner becoming of those created in G-d’s image.

How sad is it to see how we abuse this unique gift of dibbur. We use inappropriate language, make inappropriate statements, and defile the gift of speech by speaking offensively, and insulting our fellow human beings. Perhaps the worst offense of all is the way we defile our mouths while amidst a private meeting with Hashem – during davening. Would any of us be discourteous and offensive to a hard-to-reach businessperson who has managed to fit us into his busy schedule for a private meeting? Would our minds and mouths be elsewhere if granted a meeting with the President of the United States? Would any of us display such unmitigated audacity? Yet, the Melech Malchei Hamilachim grants us a private meeting three times a day – how can we so abuse the privilege?

How can we possibly expect Hashem to assist us in combating the dangers threaten us and our families when we display behavior that flies in the face of the hishtadlus Gedolei Yisroel are asking of us? How will implementing filters on the Internet help us combat the Yetzer Hara if we can’t even place filters on our mouths while asking Hashem for help with all the trials and tribulations that face us?

Stories For Pesach

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Shares In The Embarrassment

         Among the famous practitioners of our forefather Abraham’s virtue, hospitality, was Rav Akiva Eger. Naturally, on Pesach, it was “Let all who are hungry come and eat…’’ Once, at the Seder, a guest accidentally overturned his cup. As the red wine stained the fine white tablecloth and the guest’s face was suffused with embarrassment, Rav Akiva tipped the table slightly so that his own cup was overturned.

The Blood Libel

         The “Blood Libel,” which would usually crop up before Pesach, was generally denounced by governments and Popes, disproved on numerous occasions, and still brought tragedy to the Jews for nearly 1,000 years. From the massacre at Cordova in 1013 to the infamous Beilis trial in 1911, the blood of innocent Jews was shed as freely as the Pesach lamb was shed in the time of the Beis Hamikdash. May these innocent sacrifices serve as an atonement for us today and may God in His infinite mercy hasten our redemption.

Let us take a look at how a King of Poland, Stanislas August Poniatowski, dealt with such a case nearly 200 years ago.

         In 1787, a peasant of Olkusz (near Cracow) found a Christian girl in the forest. She told him that a Jew wanted to kill her. Since it was before Pesach, a ritual murder charge was immediately announced. A poor tailor by the name of Mordecai was arrested and tortured until he confessed. But the local landlord, a certain Stanislas of Wodzicki, was not satisfied. He wanted to have the leaders of the Jewish community tortured.

         It was at this point that the Jews of Cracow appealed to the King for help.

         “It was after the dance at the cloth-galleries,’’ Wodzicki wrote in his memoirs, “And I sit in my room, writing letters. Suddenly my uncle, Elias of Wodzicki comes in and says: ‘Dress, Sir Stanislas, and come along with me to the King!’

         “I replied that I would gladly fulfill the uncle’s desire, but that I was already introduced to the King.

         “‘It is not a matter of introduction,’ he answered, ‘but the devilish affair with the Jews. The King takes an interest in this matter and wants to discuss it with you.’

         “‘I understand and guess something is afoot,’” I say.

         “The uncle asks, ‘What do you guess?’

         “‘That the Jews have gotten to the King,’” I reply. The uncle remained silent.

         “I dressed and we drove to the palace. We waited a short time and then the door of a small room opened and the King entered and addressed me in this way:

         “I did not expect that you, after having learned and studied in foreign countries, should still give credence to such medieval stupidities as that the Jews use Christian blood for Easter. We find such accusations in the history of all countries, it is true, and Jews were condemned to terrible punishments. But our enlightened age knows that these victims of superstitions and prejudice were innocent. I would ask you, Sir, not to push this matter in the courts!’”

         Frightened at the King’s attitude, the landlord dropped the charges and another tragedy was averted.

Hides The Matzoh

         A Yishuvnik, an unlearned farmer, who kept a teacher for his children in his home during the winter, told the teacher, “Rav, I am going to withhold the payment I owe you, because I want you to remain here for the Pesach holiday to show me how to conduct a Seder.”

         Unable to help himself, the teacher reluctantly agreed. As they were sitting at the Seder and they came to Yachatz, where the middle matzah is broken in half and one portion is put away for the Afikomen, the teacher did just that. He broke that matzoh in half and placed one piece under the pillow.

         When the farmer saw what the teacher did, he exclaimed, “Shame on you! What do you mean by hiding half a matzah under the pillow? Do I begrudge you a piece of matzah? Eat with the best of health all you like. But to hide a piece of matzah, shame on you” (Dr. Yitzchak Unterman, in his book Lekoved Yom Tov).

Peas For Pesach

         The Rav of Bialostok, Rav Samuel Mohliver, used to supply Jewish soldiers, who were stationed near Bialostok, with kosher meals so that they need not be forced to eat non-kosher food from the army’s general kitchen. This was his particular mitzvah. One day before Pesach, the head of the Jewish Congregation visited him and explained that because of high prices it would be difficult to supply the Jewish soldiers with kosher Pesach meals. “In that case,’’ Rav Samuel told him. “I will call together a meeting of the Dayanim (Jewish Judges) and we will allow the use of peas for this Pesach.’’

         “Excellent, Rav,’’ the head of the congregation replied, “The L-rd shall give you long life for this. I was very worried how to supply the Jewish soldiers with wholesome meals. Now you have come up with an excellent solution, we will feed them peas.’’

         “Peas for the Jewish soldiers did you say? This will never happen in Biyalostok. You, I, and the entire city will eat peas for Pesach, but the soldiers, they will eat the best food available!’’ exclaimed the Gaon.

Daf Yomi

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Temple Management 101
‘The Rest Were Given To The Craftsmen As Wages’
(Kerisos 6a)

The Gemara, on our daf, discusses how to dispose of ketores from the previous year that remained unused. The Gemara explains that any leftover ketores went toward the wages of the craftsmen engaged in the service of the Beis Hamikdash.

The funds for purchasing ketores came from the machatzis hashekel that every Jew was required to contribute annually before Rosh Chodesh Nissan. These shekalim were used to purchase karbenos tzibbur (which included the ketores).

The Gemara (Jerusalem Talmud, Shekalim 1:1) derives from Scriptural sources that sacrifices offered after Rosh Chodesh Nissan must be purchased with shekalim designated for the new year’s sacrifices and not with shekalim designated for the previous year’s sacrifices.

The Remaining Lambs

The Gemara (in Shevuos 10b) deals with the similar problem of sanctified tamid lambs remaining at the end of the year. Since they were purchased with shekalim collected for the previous year’s sacrifices, these lambs are unfit for use in the new year.

Rashi (ad loc. s.v. “temidim shelo hutzrechu l’tzibbur”) explains that at the conclusion of every year, four lambs remained. The mishnah (in Arachin 13a) states that Temple authorities always kept a minimum of six lambs on hand from which two would be chosen for the daily tamidim sacrifices. Thus, on the last day of Adar (the end of the year for this matter), the Beis Hamikdash had six lambs but only two were sacrificed. Four lambs thus remained.

Why the need for six lambs every day? The Rashba explains that the Beis Hamikdash needed extra lambs in case the chosen two developed blemishes. The six lambs were bought in advance and examined for four days to ensure the absence of blemishes.

A Simple Solution?

The Turei Even (Rosh Hashanah 29b) questions this procedure. Why, he asks, did the Beis Hamikdash purchase six lambs four days before they were needed? If examination of blemishes was the goal, why didn’t they examine them without buying them? In this manner, they could have avoided the whole question of what to do with the four extra lambs remaining at the end of the year.

In truth, the Gemara (in Shevuos 10b) states that Temple administrators would stipulate at the time of purchase that the animals were only to become hekdesh if they were needed. Thus, the four remaining lambs were not hekdesh and could be sold. Nonetheless, the Turei Zahav’s question still stands: Why did they buy the animals in the first place?

Chullin In The Azarah

In answer to this question, the Netziv (Meromei Sadeh, to Shevuos 10b) suggests that the administrators probably purchased and sanctified the tamid lambs because they were kept in a chamber of the Temple courtyard – the lishkas ha’tela’im – and it would have been inappropriate to bring chullin animals into this area.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf, published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information, contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

Who Brought The Romans To Israel?

Friday, March 9th, 2012

If you were to ask the average Jew who destroyed the Beis Hamikdash and who sent Klal Yisrael into galus (exile), he would instantly answer, “The Romans.”

Of course, this is true. Do you know, however, how the Romans reached the land of Judea in the first place, and the events that led up to their arrival? It was the old story of Jewish disunity and civil war, a war between two brothers that originated in greed and desire for power and culminated in the exile of our people.

Do you also wonder why the pig, more than any other animal that is usually mentioned in the Torah as being non-kosher, has become a symbol of treife food? This, too, is linked to the same story of the civil war between these two brothers.

Horkanos And Aristobilus

After the death of King Yanai, of the house of the Chashmonaim, his righteous and good wife Shlomit Alexandra ruled for a short time. She had two sons, the older of whom was named Horkanos and the younger Aristobilus.

Because Horkanos was a weak person, he was prepared to give up the kingship and accept, in its place, the high priesthood. In turn, his younger brother, Aristobilus, was happy to rule as king. Thus, things would have remained peaceful and good, except for the fact that under the influence of an evil man, named Antipatar – a converted Edomite – Horkanos was maliciously convinced that he was being cheated.

“Why do you allow yourself, the older brother to be cheated of the fruits that are rightfully yours?” taunted Antipatar.

“You are right,” said the foolish Horkanos, “I will use force to regain my rights.”

Civil War

And so Horkanos gathered his forces and besieged Jerusalem. As the weeks went by and the food supply ran low, there was soon not an animal left for the daily sacrifice in the Temple. A message was sent to Horkanos, requesting that every morning and evening an animal be sent up in a hoist to be used for korbanos.

Horkanos agreed. “Are we not, after all, pious Jews also?” he asked.

And so it was. Every morning and every evening, the Jews within the city would lower a basket and Horkanos’ troops would put an animal into it.

The Terrible Act

The month dragged on, and Aristobilus appeared safe behind the great walls of Jerusalem. Antipatar and Horkanos grew impatient and met with their counselors to decide upon a final plan. Among the advisors was one who was versed in Greek culture. Speaking in Greek, he said:

“I have an idea to why we have been unsuccessful in this battle.”

“Speak then, old man,” said Horkanos.

“It appears to me that as long as your brother offers the daily sacrifices, the Almighty will not give the city to you. I suggest that tomorrow, when the basket is lowered, instead of putting in the usual animal, you order the troops to put in a pig!”

Horkanos agreed to the plan. The following day, as usual, the Jews within the city lowered the basket along with the three dinarim that they gave for the animals. The soldiers below placed the pig inside and signaled for the basket to be raised.

When the basket was halfway up the wall, the pig suddenly emerged and sank its hoofs into the wall. The Jews above, seeing a pig, let out a shriek of horror that shook the land of Israel.

The sages, after hearing what happened, immediately gathered and decreed:

“Cursed be the man who raises swine in Israel, and cursed be the man who teaches his sons Greek culture.”

Onias, The Tzaddik

The forces of Horkanos were involved in still another terrible deed, this time involving a tzaddik, by the name of the Onias.

Onias was a pious and G-d-fearing man who was revered by the Jews because in time of drought, the Almighty answered his prayers.

“Let us get Onias to curse the army of Aristobilus,” said Antipatar, “and this way we will emerge victorious.”

When Onias was brought before Horkanos, he replied:

“G-d forbids that I ever pray that another Jew be cursed.”

When the soldiers heard this, they struck down the old man and killed him.

Eventually, when Horkanos saw that he could not conquer Aristobilus, he bribed the Romans to send troops and intervene. Aristobilus, hearing this, sent an even greater bribe and the Romans sent their legions to “help” him. Once in Eretz Yisrael, they never left until the Temple was destroyed and the Jews exiled.

For the Shloshim of Yaakov Tovia ben Boruch Altman and Second Yahrzeit of Sara bas Bentzion (Harnik)

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Dear G-d,

 

As a mourning Yesoma sadly left behind

I’ve been turning things over and over in my mind

And have resolved to speak directly to You, my Creator

For who better to understand us – there is none greater

 

It’s You who can comfort us and wipe away our tears

It is only You who are capable of alleviating our fears

Now that our beloved parents no longer grace this earth

The ones we could depend on from the moment of our birth

 

Two beautiful neshamos, they’ve both left us and gone

Up to Shamayim to bear witness upon

The onus of a bitter Golus they personally braved

From early on when heinous mortals proved to be depraved

 

Throughout their unspeakable ordeal that reverberated in Heaven

You kept a close and watchful eye on them 24/7

Dispatching Your malachim You saved them many a time

From the unrelenting viciousness of the Nazi swine

 

 

At 19 our dear mother z”l was met with the greeting “Arbeit Macht Frei”

As she debarked the smothering cattle car and was forced to bid good-bye

To precious family members herded along a different path

Leading to the “showers” of Auschwitz that culminated in their bloodbath

 

Our dear father hk”m was iron-willed, agile and fit

Divinely blessed with a tenaciousness, vigor and true grit

He hid in snow on rooftops and in flooded cellars come spring

Paying no heed to hunger pangs or the preying insect’s sting

 

But You, Hashem, know this all – from You nothing is concealed

Moreover, it is You who held their hands and acted as their shield

You further brought the two together, postwar and parent-less

Notwithstanding their bitter experiences, they were shining models of finesse

 

Fast forward … on to the Holy Land, to struggles amid life anew

In due course to Canadian shores where one was still challenged as a Jew

Bur our dear father’s dogged resistance was to serve him well again

For he’d never dream to abandon Your statutes to conform to those of men

 

 

No elaboration needed, dear G-d, for You are quite aware

Of this twosome’s warmth and generosity, a sweet and gentle pair

Despite invariably modest means, they’d fill each outstretched palm

Their delightful company and lending ear were to so many soothing balm

 

Ah, but the Beis Midrash was our father’s love (save for his family)

For years on end from before the break of dawn he’d toil there happily

Ensuring the mikveh’s effective function to orderliness all around

His selfless devotion to this holy avodah was far and wide renowned

 

No rain nor hail, no sleet or snow would deter him from his morning routine

At 5:00 a.m. when the masses still slept he’d slip away mostly unseen

Up until 48 hours before You deemed to reclaim his holy soul

He carried on his daily shiur and minyan and was faithful to his passionate goal

 

It was on Erev Shabbos, Parshas Vayeshev quite a telling sign

The parsha teaches that a tzaddik’s focus is on the bottom line

Maasim tovim defined the life of Yaakov our eminent patriarch

As was our own dear father’s life’s ambition – with which he made his mark

 

How apropos (as You well know) that chof-daled Kislev memorializes the day

Of the Chanukas HaBayis of the Beis Hamikdash, our acutely yearned-for mainstay

On Erev Chanukah You summoned our Tatty to ascend on high to ignite

The Chanukah candles in Gan Eden … and with our dear mother there to unite

 

It was close to two whole years since he’d abandoned motivation

To take delight in life’s small joys as he had before their separation

It broke our hearts to witness our dear father’s world turning dark

Life without his Aishes Chayil had simply lost its glowing spark

 

A bittersweet end to an era – not easy for us children left behind

But You, Ribono shel Olam are HaMakom menachem and indefinably kind

You are the Healer of the brokenhearted, the Father of orphans and more

We await the great light at the end of all eras when perfection You will restore….

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/for-the-shloshim-of-yaakov-tovia-ben-boruch-altman-and-second-yahrzeit-of-sara-bas-bentzion-harnik/2010/01/15/

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