Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Baruch Goldstein Preempted a Pogrom

I was disappointed by some of the wording in last week’s front-page article. In it, the reporter refers to “the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs shooting, in which Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Muslims and wounded 125 others as they gathered to pray.” He says nothing, however, about what preceded this attack.

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The fact is that Dr. Baruch Goldstein was a gentle, scholarly Jew and a dedicated physician. He even slept in sweatpants so that he would be immediately available to treat anyone who needed his services. After the Oslo Accords, a growing number of his patients were victims of terrorist shootings.

In the days before the incident, “Ibach al Yahud – Slaughter the Jews” blared from loudspeakers in the mosques of Hebron. Leaflets and posters were printed and posted on walls urging the Arab community to stock up on supplies to prepare for the anticipated curfew that would surely follow what was being publicly advocated: the massacre of Hebron’s Jewish population.

Purim night, as Jews attempted reading the megillah at Ma’arat Hamachpelah, Arabs in the building were in a frenzy, shouting “Kill the Jews!” Jewish worshippers asked IDF soldiers to help them maintain order. They were told nothing could be done.

Considering the context, it is now clear why an individual who loved his people and was used to intervening on their behalf would think that a first strike was necessary. Life is not simple. Sometimes it can be quite ugly. Was the doctor correct in taking preemptive action? Only Hashem can judge.

It is important to know, though, that the residents of Hebron think that Baruch Goldstein saved them from a pogrom. It is also important to know that after the incident, authorities found a huge cache of guns in the Arab section of Ma’arat Hamachpelah.

Rachel Bergman
Miami, FL

 

Why Won’t Rep. Kalish Speak Up?

Thank you for alerting Jews last week to the Chillul Hashem that Rabbi Mark Kalish caused by publicly supporting Roe v. Wade and gay marriage. Unfortunately, he still refuses to publicly retract his comments.

Meanwhile, millions of Americans are horrified that 60 million babies have been aborted since Roe v. Wade, and there is talk of New York Governor Cuomo being excommunicated by the Church for signing a radical abortion bill. But our religious leaders say virtually nothing as life is devalued before our eyes.

The Talmud tells us something very scary. It states that the phrase, “Cursed is one who does not fulfill this Torah” refers to those who do not protest public transgression of Torah. And Avos D’Rav Nassan says that a city judge – i.e., a religious leader – who misleads loses his share in the World to Come.

Klal Yisrael comprises one unit. A Chillul Hashem knows no districts. Thankfully, though, we have the spiritual equivalent of Newton’s third law of physics: A Chillul Hashem can elicit an equally powerful and opposite Kiddush Hashem if we work to make it happen. So I urge Rabbi Kalish: Please stand up for our values now – today. Do it for Hashem, His Torah, and His people. Please.

Rabbi Yehuda Levin
Brooklyn, NY

 

Rep. Kalish: Repeat Publicly What You’re Saying Privately

Thank you for publishing Rabbi Yehuda Levin’s article urging Rabbi Yehiel Kalish to resign from the Illinois State legislature.

After I read in the secular press that R’ Kalish supports current abortion legislation and gay marriage and attended a Roe v. Wade anniversary celebration hosted by Planned Parenthood, I called my rosh yeshiva, Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky, shlita, to complain.

He told me he also felt that R’ Kalish’s statements as reported in the media were a terrible bizayon and Chillul Hashem and advised me to call a high-ranking official at Agudath Israel where Rep. Kalish worked for many years. The official I spoke with told me an e-mail from R’ Kalish was circulating in which he claims that the quotes attributed to him did not come from his mouth.

As for him attending the Planned Parenthood celebration: I was very disappointed to hear this official attempt to justify it by explaining that elected officials sometimes have to meet with various groups.

I ultimately actually spoke to R’ Kalish himself. He told me he had mistakenly, and regrettably, signed off on a letter for publication submitted to him by a PR man without reading its contents. But R’ Kalish said that he was not going to publicly deny any of the quotes attributed to him in the press as per the advice of a public relations person. He also said that daas Torah advised him that he could let the matter slide as “gam zeh yavor – this too shall pass.”

Yes, it may pass. Many things pass. But sometimes at an unacceptable price. I therefore plead with R’ Kalish to publicly deny all the anti-Torah and anti-morality statements attributed to him as soon as possible in order to halt and mitigate this awful Chillul Hashem.

Shlomo Winter
Brooklyn, NY

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