Photo Credit: Joe Brickman / Facebook
Eli David Kay HY"D

On the surface, both of them were educators. The cursed terrorist Fadi Abu-Shkhaydam taught religious studies at the Islamic Rashidiya school in East Jerusalem. Eliyahu Kay, on the other hand, worked as a guide at the Western Wall. What an unfathomable difference between a religion of death and a religion of life.

One ordered his wife and children to leave the country before he committed his murderous act. The other brought his family to Israel, his brothers and parents simply following in his footsteps by making aliyah. He had been planning a wedding with his fiancée, which was to take place in the coming months.

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One was a member of Hamas’ Temple Mount contingent. He prayed there, hearing and delivering sermons that promoted terrorism. The other stood every day at the entrance to the Kotel where he greeted each visitor and guest, spoke to them about the city, and regaled its beauty. He was especially moved by those from the Diaspora who sent him pieces of paper upon which prayers were written; he dutifully slipped them between the stones of the Kotel. Several days ago, Eliyahu told a friend that after years in the army, in yeshiva, and in agriculture, he felt that when working at the Kotel he was completely living his dream. He had just finished Sunday morning prayers at the Kotel and was murdered wrapped in his tefillin while holding “Likutei Sichot” (Collected Talks) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

When the Holy Temple stood, mourners would enter from the exit gates in order that everyone present would see them, stop, comfort them, and say: “May the One who dwells in this house console you.” May all of us be consoled.

 

Rain!

Have you noticed that it is already the middle of Kislev and the blessed rains have not yet come in Israel? Rabbi Itamar Haikin wrote about this as follows:

Drought distresses me deeply in my heart. It is a feeling that something about us is not what it should be. Perhaps this is part of the ancient heritage bequeathed to us from our forefathers. Or maybe it’s about my childhood, which was spent in an agricultural setting. Whatever the case may be, closed up skies are interpreted by me as a kind of mirror of what is happening here on earth. A blessing from heaven is a testimonial to a blessed reality on earth. When the heavens are blocked, it’s a sign of blockage in the relationships between people here below. (And yes, I know that there are also climatological and ecological explanations as well.)

We do not need to search too hard to find what it is that we must fix and improve when it comes to relating to one another. The social media networks bring reality to our doorstep in a socially damaging and distancing way. When we turn to the Master of the universe and entreat Him to “act with mercy upon Your children,” it is a request obligating us to behave as children with a common father. In other words, if we behave as brothers do, then He will act toward us as a benevolent father. But as long as we do not act with each other as brothers, but brutalize and alienate one another, how can we turn toward him as our father?

When the skies stop giving rain, it is customary to add to the Shema Yisrael prayer the following words in order to arouse heavenly mercy:

“Answer us Creator of the universe with mercy, and choose Your people Israel, that we may proclaim Your greatness and Your glory. Hear our prayer, provide dew and rain for blessing upon the earth, and satiate the entire world from your goodness and fill our hands from Your blessings and from the abundance of Your hands. Protect and spare this year from every bad thing, from every kind of destruction and misfortune, and make it a year of hope that ends in peace. Spare us and have mercy upon us and upon all the produce and fruits of this year, and bless this year with favorable rains, with blessing and abundance and life and satiety and peace, as in the good years. And remove from it all pestilence, desolation, and hunger, and wild beasts and imprisonment and looting, and remove our evil inclination and bad, difficult illnesses, and bad, difficult occurrences. And decree good decrees upon us before You, and may Your mercy prevail and may You act mercifully with Your children, and desire to receive our prayer with compassion.”

 (Translation by Yehoshua Siskin)

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Sivan Rahav-Meir is a popular Channel 12 News anchor, the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the author of “#Parasha.” Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.
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