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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘gilad’

Al Eileh Ani Bochiyah – For These Do I Weep

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

When the unspeakable news reached us, I, like so many others, could not find the words to give expression to my pain and agony.

Yes, I said “Baruch Dayan HaEmes,” but even as I pronounced those words I choked and could not go on.

Hashem, I cried. Where are all the tefillahs, the prayers, we said? Where are all the pirkei Tehillim, the Psalms, we recited? Where are the oceans of tears we shed?

Oh, I know they were not in vain; I know You gathered all our prayers and all our tears and placed them in your Holy Treasury to be preserved for all eternity. Even so, our merciful Heavenly Father, for thousands of years we have been weeping. Our tears became oceans. The earth has been drenched with our blood. When will it come to an end? When will You heal our wounds? When will You redeem us from all our suffering?

I know we did not live up to our covenant. I know we failed You. Nevertheless we are Your children and despite the persecution, the torture, the fire, the gas chambers – despite our dispersion to the four corners of the world – we never abandoned You.

Many of us could not withstand the allure of the societies to which You scattered us, or we simply did not know better. But despite it all, the pintele Yid, the Jewish spark, was never extinguished. And if kindled, that spark can burst forth and become a brilliant flame. I know because I have witnessed it again and again. We have never forgotten You.

I saw these words on the walls of the infamous concentration camp in Theresienstadt where Your children, at the risk of their lives, dug an underground synagogue and scratched out those words:

“Look down from the Heavens and see – we have become an object of scorn and derision among nations…we are regarded as sheep being led to the slaughter…. But despite all this, we have not forgotten Your Name. We beg You not to forget us.”

This was the legacy they left behind.

The savage murderers turned us into ashes. But we rose from those ashes and returned to the land You bequeathed to us as an eternal heritage. With a plow in one hand and a gun in the other we planted orchards, vineyards and forests. We built cities and villages. And the land that for thousands of years had remained dormant bloomed overnight.

Throughout all this we were brutally attacked. From the moment we returned, the nations surrounding us tried to annihilate us. Constant wars, terror attacks, rockets, missiles, kidnappings – our blood continued to flow.

Heavenly Father, for how long? How much more?

I know that though we returned to Your land we have yet to return to You as we should have. But You are our Father. No matter what, fathers protect their children. Fathers forgive. Fathers embrace their children with love and see only their goodness. I saw this with my own father. Surely You, our Heavenly Father, will forgive us for our many trespasses and not allow the wolves to devour us.

As these thoughts passed through my mind I recalled my mother-in-law Rebbetzin Chaya Sora Jungreis, a”h, who was murdered in Auschwitz. My father-in-law HaRav HaGaon Osher Anchil HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, had returned his soul to our Heavenly Father a few months prior to the Nazi deportation. So it was that HaRav Yosef Dov, Hy”d, a newlywed, became the rabbi of the community.

Prior to the Nazi occupation the Hungarian Gestapo seized all Jewish young men and sent them off to slave labor camps from where few ever returned. One Shabbos night the Gestapo broke down the door of Rabbi Yosef Dov and his rebbetzin and dragged him off to the dreaded slave labor camp. From that moment on my mother-in-law never went to sleep in her bed. The entire night she would sit in her chair, weeping and praying. My husband, who was the youngest in the family and still at home, would plead, “Tayere Mamma – my dear Mamma, please lie down in bed. Please try to catch some sleep.

Our Boys; Our Values

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

There are no words to describe the utter sense of sadness, loss, and outrage we all feel on behalf of the Shaar, Frenkel and Yifrach families. What these families have been put through is indescribable and the dignity and grace with which they have confronted this tragedy is nothing short of inspirational.

Last week I participated in a rabbinic conference call with Racheli Frankel, mother of Naphtali z”tl l who told us that the sense of Achdut (unity) and Ahavat Yisrael (love of one Jew for the next) were not just cliches but something she was truly feeling from Jews all over the world and something she asked us rabbis to continue to promote here in the United States. She wanted something good to come of this terrible situation and I feel we owe her at least that.

Racheli said she felt tremendous love and support from all segments of society, from the Charedim (ultra-orthodox) and their prayer gatherings to the Chilunim (secular). Yair Lapid, Israel’s Finance Minister went to visit the families and was quoted as saying to the mothers: “I haven’t prayed in six years. I haven’t gone into a synagogue since my son’s bar mitzvah. When I heard what had happened to your sons, I turned my house upside down to look for my grandfather’s prayer book. I sat down and prayed.” Interior Minister Gideon Saar said that because of what was happening he was going to begin observing Shabbat and publicly said he would not answer his phone until the stars come out on Saturday night. President Shimon Peres said and I quote:

“Three families like this can lift up a nation to heights previously unknown and I am not exaggerating. It’s been several days that Israel has been different, unified, joined, praying, fighting.” One of the other mothers, Bat-Galim, said that a chatan, a groom came to her home on the morning of his wedding to encourage them and Racheli referenced a large prayer gathering in Talmon organized by both the Ashkenazi and Sepahrdic Chief Rabbis of Israel. She ended the conference call with her prayer that the current sense of unity should serve as a tikkun, as a spiritual rectification for the divisiveness spoken of in that week’s Torah portion, Parshat Korach. And so in our sadness and outrage we shouldn’t lose the sense of love and unity that was somehow brought about and which is so often missing from our community.

We should also recognize one more unique value for which Judaism can truly be proud: our love for life and basic sense of humanity. Could you ever imagine a Jew celebrating the abduction and murder of a child, even one from our enemy? It’s unheard of in the Jewish community because ultimately Judaism celebrates life. The Torah is a guidebook to filling our lives with meaning and purpose. By celebrating the kidnapping and murder of innocent children our enemy has shown their true colors and demonstrated that the God they worship is not a God of life and love but one of hatred and death.

Ultimately this is a tragedy of immense proportion and the Jewish people will never be the same without our three boys but the way these brave families and Jews from all over the world have reacted to this huge blow only strengthens the treasured Jewish values of unity and love for life. May our continuing to celebrate life through Torah serve to elevate the souls of Eyal, Naftali, and Gilad, zichonam livracha. May their memory be a blessing and may their families be comforted amongst all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Who Killed Sgt. Tomer Hazan?

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Last Friday morning, Nadal Amar, 42, a resident of the Arab city of Kalkilya who worked in a fast food restaurant in the Jewish city of Bat Yam, talked his fellow employee, IDF Sergeant Tomer Hazan, 20, to come visit him at his home, over in the area under Palestinian Authority rule. They took a taxi together, stopped outside the Jewish town of Sha’arey Tikva in Judea and Samaria, and proceeded on foot to an open area outside the Arab village of Sanniriya. Shortly thereafter, Hazan was thrown into a water hole and died. Investigators suspect that he was not killed before being thrown in, but rather it was the fall that caused his death.

The distinction is important, because, according to Hazan’s abductor, Amar, his purpose in luring Hazan to his side of the “green line” was to use him as a bargaining chip in getting his terrorist brother released from Israeli jail.

Amar had a very good reason to do what he did: it is a well established Israeli government policy that Israel will always negotiate with terrorists, and will always—without exception—be willing to let go of hordes of Arab murderers, sometime in exchange for an abducted citizen, sometime in exchange for the dead bodies of fallen Israeli soldiers, and on occasion simply as a good will gesture. When an Arab murders a Jew anywhere in Israel and is lucky enough not to get killed during the act, he knows he would never serve out the full sentence imposed on him. And to get out he doesn’t even need to show good behavior, much less remorse – he just needs to wait for a good abduction.

This policy of letting go of busloads of murderers was always part of Israel’s insane policy of respecting the rights of Arabs to a fault while treating Israeli citizens like human trash. But it was carved in stone, for eternity, with the support of the vast majority of Israeli media, on October 18, 2011. Back then, 1,027 Palestinian prisoners were released to obtain the release of the Hamas abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.

Some of the released in that infamous deal had been convicted of multiple murders of Israeli civilians. According to Israeli government sources, they were collectively responsible for 569 Israeli deaths.

When my government releases the murderers of 569 citizens as part of a negotiation with terrorists, what does that say about the value it accords those 569 victims? Simple: they don’t exist, they’re merely the price of getting the next political reward – and my prime minister decided to sweep away the memory of those victims in exchange for the life of a very popular young man at the time, IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit.

I have more sympathy for No’am Shalit, Gilad’s father, who led a relentless crusade for the release of his boy. I actually admire his resourcefulness, his sheer energy. It was a father’s love in action. But I did not appreciate the demonizing of those who objected to the astonishingly uneven proposed prisoner exchange (analyst Dan Schueftan called the swap “the greatest significant victory for terrorism that Israel has made possible.”). There were sound reasons for exceptionally sane people to oppose the exchange, and the media, taking its cues from Shalit Sr. presented them as heartless and, worse, right wing extremists.

But if the PM did it because he gave in to media pressure, and No’am Shalit did it for love of his son, the third culprit in this story, Jerusalem Post writer Gershon Baskin did it with unhidden joy, to advance his political agenda.

Baskin, an adviser on the peace process to prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak, and founding Co-Chairman of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information, negotiated through secret back channels for the Gilad Shalit swap.

Baskin’s book, “Free Gilad,” relates those secret negotiations. For more than five years, the NY born Baskin “dedicated and risked his life towards achieving a goal that had both national and human significance, to redeem the life of a human being who was confined in captivity.”

As a society — and a vast majority of Israelis, duped by their media, supported the Shalit exchange rate of one innocent Jew for more than 1,000 Jew killers — we have shown a deep disdain for the value of Jewish life. Our enemies are tenacious in their labor to free their own, blood on hands and all, while we are showing, day in and day out, that we do not honor our living or our dead.

I am deeply ashamed of my country today.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/netanyahu-shalit-baskin-you-killed-tomer-hazan/2013/09/23/

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