Friday, March 07, 2008

Crying... A Plea

Yohai Livshitz, 18. Yonatan Eldar, 16. Yonadav Hirchfeld, 19. Neria Cohen, 15. Roie Rote, 18. Segev Avichal, 15. Avraham Moses, 16. Doron Tronoch, 26.

Baruch Dayan Emes.
Everyone is crying today. Everyone is angry today. On both counts, we should be. This isn't supposed to happen... it just isn't supposed to happen. This was at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav! The place where everything begins from every Yom Yerushalayim! 6 years ago, when they danced to the Kotel on the eve of Yom Yerushalayim, they paused to lament outside of where Sbarro's used to stand. This year, where will they pause?! At their own doors?! Where will they cry? In their own Beis Medrash!?

This just isn't supposed to happen. It just isn't...

Some of my cousins used to study there. I'm not sure if any are still there or not. Another (charedi) cousin goes to learn and daven there every night. Isn't that how it works? We all know someone who's there? Who could have been there? One friend anxiously awaited to hear the status of her recently wed sister's husband. Another realized her brother was just minutes away. We all feel guilty at our own relief, as we find out it wasn't the one we know and love who is among the injured... who is among the dead. It's someone else's loss, and we feel relieved and horrified at the same time.

And then it just becomes a matter of how close does it hit home. For Treppenwitz, this is his neighbor's son. A neighbor who has already had to bounce back from the loss of a husband... and now this. It's unbearable. It's unimaginable!

Then there are all the (warning: graphic) pictures. Rafi has the craziness of the interview of the man who had helped kill the terrorist and stop him from murdering even more young men... children! He calls out Peres and Olmert on live national television about the gun the terrorist used... a Kalachnikov that was supplied to the Palestinians by the Israeli government. How horrible is that thought. That realization. That we gave them the means of killing our own children. We gave it to them...! We gave it to them.

It is so hard... so hard to express what we feel right now. There's just too much to feel. Too much to think. Too much that still needs to sink in. Our good friend SJ has written beautifully through her pain about how this feels and why she is... why we all are crying; that's as close as I could ever hope to explain anything.

We all have our own ways of comprehending, of understanding, of dealing. Of coping. Chana tries in her own way to relate; to try and on some level understand, comprehend how this feels. The Apple is struck by an old message about the efficacy of prayer... specifically Mincha, in combating that which we need to.

I'm so drained. We all are. I'm also so amazed by the strength of the Jewish people, that we constantly go through this, and always come out stronger than the last time. And maybe it's still too soon to appreciate this, but as a friend wrote so beautifully this evening:
But there is something beautiful in that pain as well. Because with every tragedy comes the aftermath. And in this case, we can choose to affect that aftermath. Tragedy, by its nature, brings us closer together, binds us to one another. We become inseperable. We are all of one people; we are all Jews, and we all care. Today the differences fall away. Today the walls fall down. We are Jews and we are human and we care that our brethren were murdered in the library where they sat studying. ...

And this is something we need to take with us for times of strength as well. And something that we can, little by little, strive to do, by allowing this to live on in our hearts - not for just one day, but to take what is beautiful about this, the way in which we come together, and bind it to us so that we do not let it go. So that we stay united. So that we continue in this way, and learn a lesson that we never forget.
May God bless us all and may we all know nothing but happiness.
Amen. Finally... Mindy has asked me to post this beautiful and powerful plea to everyone, and I ask that you read and internalize her message. Thank you.
A Plea (very slightly edited)

We all know what has happened today at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav. Eight yeshiva students, five high schoolers and three yeshiva gedola students, were killed in cold blood by an Arab with a kippa. PLEASE, we cannot let this go on without this changing us in some way. We must do two things:
  • FIRST: In whatever way you can, fight against this injustice. Whenever you see any slanted media reporting, write a letter to the editor. Write or call the White House about any issue: Israel. Terrorism. Darfur. Etc. Check Israeli websites EVERY DAY and subscribe to their email list to keep up on the news. E-mail the Israeli government at Comment on their sites. Comment on blogs. Call politicians. Hashem gave us free choice, and we have the power to change the world if we so will it.
  • SECOND: We have to look within ourselves and our society and find what it is that is faulty within us. Whether it is society at large - and there is no lack of that - or ourselves as a whole, WE MUST CHANGE, or there will be no end to the tragedy! The Ribono Shel Olam is looking down at us from shamayim and waiting to see our reaction when we are killed and trampled on.
And this is why I am begging you to please do two things:
  • One, to take on a kaballah, any kaballah, that you will do something to end the tragedy within us - whether it is an email to the White House, whether it is davening every day, whether it is spreading ahavas chinam in klal Yisrael - TAKE ON SOMETHING to show Hashem that we really care, and do not live our lives in our bubble. Look within yourself to see what it is that Hashem wants you to be and begin working on that goal.
  • Two, start saying Acheinu every day. Stand up and say it in shul, school, on the train, wherever there are Jews who belong to our nation. This cannot go on forever. We must stop this and bring forth the Mashiach already. ***Enough is enough.***
Please daven for the injured:
Naftali ben Gila
Yonatan ben Avital
Shimon ben Tirza
Nadav ben Hadas
Reuven ben Naomi
Elchanan by Zehava
and say Tehillim for them and those who tragically were killed. Also tragic is the attack on Israeli soldiers this morning, and Rabbi Segal's death. Tens of rockets fall on Sderot each day. We cannot let this go on!

Mercas HaRav's e-mail address is
Hamakom Yinacheim Osom Misoch Avlei Tzion V'Yerushalayim.