Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Beloved Har Nof... in tears. And I along with her. The shul that was attacked is right next door to the apartment building that we lived in for nearly three years. The murdered and wounded were our neighbors. Too many people I know are suffering terribly right now. Even just one would be one too many - how much more so the number of people affected by this tragedy.

The ripple effect travels beyond Har Nof through all of Jerusalem, across the length and breadth of Israel and around the globe. I can't begin to put my feelings into words but I will share below some words written with much feeling by others, three of whom I am privileged to be able to say I know personally.

May Hashem heal the wounded, comfort the mourners, give us all strength and bring Mashiach very, very soon. Please Remember Har Nof, Jerusalem. Visit this website and help however you can. Share the link with others. And pray for the quick and full recovery of
Shmuel Yerucham ben Baila (Goldstein)
Chaim Yechiel ben Malka (Rotman)
Eitan ben Sara (Mualmi)
Yitzchok ben Chaya
Yaakov ben Rivka Rachel

From Rebetzin Tziporah Heller (who's son-in-law is among the injured):
...Every day in Eretz Yisrael is a gift and a miracle. I have no pretensions of knowing Hashem's will, but I do know that everything He does is purposeful, and that His compassion that is often hidden from the human eye. Anyone who values human life and reality and the eternal nature of the soul is appalled by the idea of people entering a synagogue and (randomly) killing people who they never met.
Except for CNN. They reported the entire event as an attack on a mosque.
Except for BBC. They reported that the Israeli police killed two Palestinians (they meant the murderers). The victims of Israeli brutality presumably were going on a stroll through scenic Har Nof when attacked by the racist troops….
Please post the truth to whomever you can reach.
Please please continue saying Tehillim (psalms) for Shmuel Yerucham ben Baila and the other victims. Daven that Hashem give strength to the five new widows and 24 new orphans. Most of all thank Hashem that we are not Them, and treasure Hashem's Torah and His Land.
Love always,

From Estee Yarmish:
We are frozen, sitting and staring in a daze no one wants to do anything, we went from funeral to funeral, and then back to the kitchen just sitting and staring... After 12 hours, I finally just told everyone to get up and we are baking and cooking for all the families, and I'm emailing you...

From Yaffa Palti:
There are so many questions...and so few answers. As human beings our mental and intellectual capacities are limited and we don't understand the ways in which God runs the world. We are unable to connect naturally with our spiritual universe while living in the physical one.
But, if we are alive in this world, then there is something we need to experience and learn from everything and from everyone that we encounter. So, although we don't know the WHY, we can try to identify with the WHAT. What is the message here? What can I learn from this?
The answers to those questions are distinctive and individual. But, I'll share with you my own personal moral and understanding. What happened this morning reminds me of (an incident that happened at Yeshivas Ner Yisrael in Baltimore many years ago. Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg, zt"l, the Rosh HaYeshiva at that time,) said that violence and bloodshed, and acts of aggression don't happen here. They just don't happen inside our sacred homes and shuls and yeshivas. They exist only in the outside world. And if we see that they are entering our private corners; if the bestiality and brutality is happening inside, perhaps that means we are bringing the outside world, inside. And that maybe, this is the natural result of that.
I will try to find that balance. To live in this world, to use it to my advantage, to enjoy its pleasures, to utilize its conveniences....but yet not to bring the outside, inside.
It's about elevating the good while rejecting the bad.
It's about knowing which aspects of the outside world are nourishment and which are poisonous.
And I will take it even a step further. Am I an internal person, or an external one?
Do I want to LOOK good, or BE good?
Do I prioritize my middos (character traits)? My derech eretz (
treating others with respect and kindness)?
Am I sensitive, compassionate, loving towards others or do I give priority to my reputation? Or my outside appearance? Am I more careful about chumras (stringencies) between me and God than about hurting a human being? Am I judgmental?
Am I counting peoples' inches and measurements on the outside...or am I counting my own measurements (middos) on the inside?
I need to be a person of the inside and not of the outside.
May Hashem comfort these wonderful families, and shower them with blessing and kindness.
And may Hashem protect us all and keep us safe...on the outside and on the inside.

From Chaya Tavin:
As Rabbi Rubin (rabbi of the shul where the attack occurred) said at the levaya (funerals) we must strengthen ourselves in Emuna (faith). We must internalize the knowledge that nothing is by chance, nothing is without purpose and meaning. We must strive in some small way to emulate the kedoshim (the holy men who were murdered) - each so different on the surface but so very much the same; each a true lover of Torah and Talmidei Chachamim, each a true lover of his fellow Jew, each a ba’al chesed (doer of kindness) each a man with true simchas hachaim (joy in life). Each of us must look inward; ask “what can I rectify?” Each one of us must make some small yet powerful change. The families of the kedoshim asked those who came to the shiva to please take on something for Am Yisrael. This is derech HaTorah (the way of Torah). This will give nechama (consolation) to the widows, the orphans. This will be a z’chus (merit) for a refuah (recovery) for the injured. And we can pray that this will be the final chapter in the long and painful history of golus (exile) and will bring the Geula bimheyra biyameinu (the final redemption, speedily and in our time). 


The morning after the attack, the very same shul hosted the bris of a newborn little boy. Mazal Tov to him and his family. Life - with all its ups and downs, twists and turns - goes on in Har Nof and in the Jewish world. May the upcoming new month of Kislev be blessed and peaceful in Har Nof and beyond. May Hashem wipe away every tear and let the sun break through the clouds of sadness that darkened our skies this week.
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov.