emunah, tefillah, a little mussar, and a shmeck of geula

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mothers' Milk

It's been a rough couple of weeks for those of us who value Jewish blood. 

The various rendezvous with the Malach HaMaves differed only as to location because a roll call of these tragedies reveals that the murderers and victims were the same in every instance, as if pulled from central casting, albeit with the appropriate name changes.

The murderers were all Arabs who went out of their way to demonstrate for all who have eyes to see that the Torah contains no superfluous words.

Before Yishmael was even conceived his mother was told by the angel of Hashem that he would be a pere adam (a wild-ass of a man). And as anyone who is familiar with Hebrew grammar knows the adjective follows the noun, so we're not talking about a mentch that has a wild side to him but rather an animal who happens to have some attributes of a human being, with one of those attributes being the lust for murder because animals only kill for food.

So this was Hagar's mindset when she conceived, carried, and gave birth to Yishmael.  She already new the end of the story before it began.

The intended victims, on the other hand, were all Jews.  The official body count of victims includes two Arabs, but in the terminology that Hamas uses when one of their bombs explodes in the process of being assembled, their deaths were merely work accidents with no malice aforethought.

And exactly from where did these murdered Jews hail?  Once again, the Torah contains no superfluous words.

The Torah tells us that Eliezer said the following as he stood near the well of water outside of Haran:  "Let it be that the maiden to whom I shall say, 'Please tip your jug so that I may drink and who replies, "Drink, and I will even water the camels,' her You have chosen for Your servant, for Yitzchok."

The maiden was, of course, Rivka, the great grandmother of those Jews whose marriage to Yitzchok was conceived in chesed.

We ask:

What possesses two Arab girls, one 16 and the other 14, with scissors in hand, to march off to the shuk to spill Jewish blood with little prospect of ever seeing their parents again?  And from what kind of society spring three 16 year old boys who get themselves killed in three separate and distinct failed knifing attacks at the Tapuach Junction several hours apart on the same day?

The mother of the Arab murderer that killed several Jews last week at the Gush Etzion Junction said that she was proud of her son.  He spilled the blood of innocent Jews and she was proud.

The mother of Ezra Schwartz, one of the murdered Jews, was also proud of her son.  Just before he was murdered he was busy giving food to the IDF soldiers in the area.  She was proud that he died in the act of chesed.

And at the end of the day, that's the bottom line difference between the murderers and those who they murdered. 

As we said above, the Torah contains no superfluous words.  They are who they are already from their mothers' milk.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Not long after the shooting stopped in Paris last week, a young pianist somehow managed to shlep a piano on his bicycle to the street in front of the Bataclan theatre.  He immediately sat down to play a rendition of John Lennon's Imagine without the accompanying lyrics.  And truth be told, without the lyrics it was a moving experience even for those of us who are familiar with Imagine's socialist utopian psychobabble rant.

Query:  If the International Left can imagine nonsense that makes the Tooth Fairy believable by comparison, why can't we imagine what should actually be reality even if it's not currently answering present at roll call?

And what just might that be?

This morning I received an email which reads as follows:

This past Friday afternoon, Rabbi Yaakov Litman, 44,  and his son Netanel, 18  HY"D, were murdered by Palestinian terrorists who opened fire on their vehicle as they were traveling near Otniel, south of Hevron .

They were on the way to a pre-wedding celebration for one of Litman's daughters, Sarah Techiya.  At their funeral on Har Hamenuchot this past Saturday night, Sarah Techiya cried out:  “Abba,  where have you gone? Who will give me away? I wanted you to be at my wedding!!".

Sarah Techiya and her chatan, Ariel, just announced from her shiva in Kiryat Arba that their wedding will take place, with Hashem's help, on Thursday, Nov. 26. They are inviting all Klal Yisrael to attend their wedding at Binyanei Ha"uma (concert hall in Jerusalem) on that date.  
Here is their invitation:

"Don't make our enemies happy. We fell, we got up, with G-d's help, our wedding will take place next Thursday, 26 November, 14 Kislev, at Binyanei Hauma in Jerusalem.  Am Yisrael is invited to get up from the dust and rejoice with us....
Sarah Techiya and Ariel"

In EmunahSpeak: Nu?, we said:

In the way we deal with others Hashem deals with us.  When we ask Hashem to send us Moshiach when we don’t deserve it are we not asking for the ultimate chesed that He could do for us?  And isn’t the ultimate chesed on our part a chesed shel emes?

And yet, when a family of Torah Jews is slaughtered in their beds or eight Yeshiva bochurim are gunned down in their Yeshiva we seem to be incapable of stepping outside of our label saturated existence long enough to attend the funeral.  It matters not a whit how many people show up because it’s not a numbers game.

It’s all about the mosaic of Torah Jewry.

In Shomayim, three hundred of EVERYBODY at a levayah will trump thirty thousand of only a certain SOMEBODY every time. 

If one looks at the pictures of the levaya of Rabbi Yaakov and Netanel Littman HY"D, one sees (as can be expected) only the usual suspects.

Okay, so we blew another opportunity to morph all the TALK about achdus into the WALK, but this time those Jews who set the compass of their life by the dictates of the Torah won't have to wait around for the next tragedy r"l to get it right.
They can show up at the Chasana!

And what might that accomplish?

Just imagine.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Thinking About Yenem

In EmunahSpeak: Goin' Ostrich, we pointed out that, as is well known, the Gemara in Yevamos teaches that every disaster that comes upon the world comes only because of Klal Yisroel.  It’s always about us.  It always was and it always will be.

As a proxy for earthquakes and floods we have missiles, but instead of seeing them through the eyes of the Gemara so as to utilize them as a means of bringing us to Teshuva, all we see, to the extent that we trouble ourselves to look, is missiles and the wickedness of the Arabs that rain them down on our heads. 

Rather than see a wake up call, we see a routine, or more accurately we succumb to a routine much akin to garbage collection or bread delivery.

And now, of course, we're talking knives, meat cleavers and whatever else may be readily pulled out of a kitchen draw.  It's the same wake up call and over and above the Teshuva that is always required of us, it calls for an additional response nuanced to the circumstances.

Rabbi Daniel Travis tells us that the only aitza in dealing, on a somewhat pain free basis, with the Chevlei Moshiach that we are experiencing is by means of Talmud Torah and Gemillas Chasodim. 

Talmud Torah we understand, but what about Gemillas Chasodim in this context?   He lets us hear that our interaction with other people is very important and that a person should do whatever he can for others.

The most important form of doing for others is, of course, davening and reciting Tehillim.  It's the ruchniyas equivalent of using laser guided munitions.

But in these times it's not enough.  We should also think about them.

Davening and Tehillim speak to the amelioration of the situation on the ground but it doesn't necessarily connect us to it.  This is a big speed bump because a person should think more about yenem than himself,  and yet, when we hear about a tragedy how much do we think about the other person?

Rabbi Avi Wiesenfeld asks this very question on a much less pareve decibel level:

People hear about what's going on and it's terrible.  A couple of minutes later it's "pass the chips please."

It affected you?  It did something to you?  How can you hear that a man who was standing by a bus stop on the way to learning this morning is no longer among the living?  How can you hear that and it doesn't affect you?  How can you hear that  and say, "you know, these things happen," and then go back to breakfast or lunch?

How can it not have an affect on you?

At the very least, our love for a Jew who was attacked r"l, should be no less intense than the hatred of the Arab that wielded the knife