Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
<>=<>=<> Thursday March 2, 2023 Adar 9, 5783<>=<>=<>
Uplifting Ones Spirits.
Emunah. Betachon and Limud HaTorah.
Finding goodness even in times of tragedy.
G is with us everywhere all of the time.
The importance of Tefilos
From two mothers who tragically lost two sons and their words of chizuk.;
This is from the mother of Hillel, h’yd and Yigal h’ys .
From Yeshiva World February 26, 2023
Mrs. Esty Yaniv, the mother of the kedoshim Hillel, h’yd (age 21) and Yigal, h’yd (age 18) who were murdered in a shooting attack early Sunday afternoon, recorded a chilling message to the youth on her yishuv, Har Bracha, only hours after her sons’ deaths.
Despite her terrible loss, she spoke words of emunah and tried to be mechazeik them.
“I spoke with my children and you’re also like my children…I want to tell you something,” she said. “We received a slap from Hakadosh Baruch Hu, a powerful slap. I don’t know why.”
“We’re trying to find the good things and the chessed – that beforehand we had a family Shabbos, that we had good conversations with them yesterday, that we took a family photo. Hakadosh Baruch Hu sends chassadim, He sent us – together with the painful blow – chassadim.”
“We have a hole, a huge hole in our hearts. Nothing will close this hole – not construction [of a new yishuv], not protests, not anything. And family simchos will just be a bandaid. The hole will remain. We’ll learn to live with it, and live with it b’simcha and continue, and draw strength from you and our children.”
“If you ask what to do, increase your limmud Torah – both of them were on the way to limmud Torah. Do meaningful service in the army.”
“There are no words, there are no words that can comfort, that can express…we’re depending on you.”
This is from Mrs. Devorah Paley the mother of two of her sons Asher Menachem a”h (age 8)and Yaakov Yisroel a”h (age 6) who were killed in a ramming attack and the wife of Rav Avrohom Noach ben Yehudis may he have a refuah sheleima who was severely injured in that attack.
From the Flatbush Jewish Journal February 23, 2023 Page 52 “
THE FJJ INTERVIEWS MRS. DEVORAH PALEY
by Mordy Mehlman Publisher of the FJJ
“Sharing her feelings with Klal Yisroel”
“From the beginning of our sitting shiva, people are coming here from all ends of Eretz Yisroel and from the entire world. They feel that this pain is not only our pain, but the pain of Klal Yisroel. They are truly coming here from the northern and southern ends of Eretz Yisroel to be with us and feel our pain.
My two sons that were killed were full of truth, spiritually, learning Torah, always doing mitzvos and maasim tovim. Every Motzei Shabbos they would go to a special learning program with my husband. If you would ask them if they were prepared to be korbonos for Klal Yisroel, they would have agreed to it!
With all the great pain, we realize that this is not a private suffering, rather a communal suffering. We are mispallel that these korbonos for Klal Yisroel should not be in vain. We are mispallel that Hakodosh Boruch Hu should take them close to Him, that everyone should get chizuk from them. So many people are coming here in pain, but I am unable to console all of them. Hakodosh Boruch Hu should console them, since He is he Baal Hanechomot. He is able to console all of them through the geulah. We are mispallel for the geulah of Tzion.
One of my two boys was named Asher Menachem. He was born on Tisha B’Av and they say that maybe he will be Moshiach. We hope that he will bring Moshiach speedily in our times and we should all join together in Yerushalayim Hebenuyah.”
“WHAT KABOLOS CAN WE TAKE UPON OURSELVES:”
“We must work on ahavat chinam. The Bais Hamikdash was destroyed for sinas chinam and will be rebuilt for ahavat chinam. We need ahava between ourselves, between us and Klal Yisroel, including a good eye, avoiding machlokes and anything that can bring ahavat chinam.
We took upon ourselves the inyan of “Don’t say Uf, say Kuf”- to say every day Perek Kuf of Tehillim which is Mizmor L’soda, because as Jews we believe that everything that happens to us is good. My two boys always showed appreciation to H and understood that this is why we are called Yehudim- because we realize our life mission to thank and show appreciation to H. We realize that our lives and everything we have is from H.
Even though this is not what we expected to happen to us, it still attaches us more to H and will hopefully bring the geulah. Everything H does is for the best. These realizations will hopefully bring the geulah.’
Understandably, we also have to focus on learning Torah, doing chesed, and all the things we have followed for all the generations.”
From Generation To Generation Volume ll by Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski CIS Publishers Pages 12-13.
“And He blew into his nostrils a soul of living spirit,” (Genesis 11:17). “This is how the creation of man is described: a soul derived from the very breath of G, and therefore G-dly in nature; a living spirit totally distinct from the vital nature of animals. Man is a being that is capable of rising above himself, not only above his base nature, but even above his noble nature.
Spirituality gives man’s being a purpose. Man is not a biological accident limited to self-gratification, but a being with a mission, one whose existence is goal-directed. The distinctive feature of humanity is thus spirituality rather than intellect.
The acid test of spirituality is man’s response to suffering. Obviously, self-gratification and suffering are antithetical since gratification requires the elimination of suffering. The stoic may adapt himself to accept suffering without external manifestation of distress and perhaps even with equanimity. Only the person who lives a life transcends his own being, and who rejoices in the knowledge that he is fulfilling the purpose of his creation, only that person can rejoice amidst his suffering.”
Chassidic writings abound with the emphasis on joy. The Baal Shem Tov expounded his teachings of joy to Jews living under conditions of extreme poverty and severe oppression. The Baal Shem taught that the awareness that one has within himself a neshama, a Divine soul which is part of the Almighty, and that one has a unique and specific mission on earth, should so overshadow any suffering, that one should always be in a state of ecstasy. Indeed, said the Baal Shem, a lack of joy betrays a lack of true faith and conviction. Lebidig, kinderlich, lebedig!
Whereas scholars, people learned in both the revealed and esoteric Torah teachings, may have deeper understanding of G lines and kedusha, the fundamental belief in the Devine origin of one’s soul and purposefulness in creation is accessible to everyone. Hence, the Chassidic exaltation of every individual, the unlearned as well as the learned.”
From The Schottenstein Edition Megilas Esther Interlinear Translation Artscroll Series Mesorah Publication Ltd Page XXVI “G’s NAME DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE MEGILAH-THE ONLY one of the 24 sacred books where such a phenomenon occurs. True, commandments show how the world Hamelech, the King, is always a reference to G, King of the Universe, and His Name appears occasionally in acrostic form (see commentary 5:4). Nevertheless, these hidden appearances of His Name are still in marked contrast to the rest of Tanach.
Precisely. The miracle of Purim happened at the end of the Babylonian Exile, a time when G was behind myriad veils of concealment, a time when Jews were asking with poignant, tragic sincerity whether they owed Him more allegiance than a wife spurned, or a slave set free. And the miracle happened in Elam, a spiritually forlorn province, almost devoid of Torah.
Yet it was at that time and in that place that “random” links began coming together and forming chains of salvations, chains eternally binding the Jews to the earlier days when G was everywhere. The miracle of Purim showed them that G was still everywhere, would always be everywhere, even when His presence could be divined only in the actions of this king or that, in acrostics of random events, in bafflements of history that to the believing eye, spell out Ani rishon va ani rishon va ani acharon umibaoadai ein Elo – kim I am the first and I am the last; and beside Me there is no G (Isaiah 44:6).”
From The Torah Anthology Me Am Lo’ez The Book of Esther by Rabbi Raphael Chiyya Pontemoli (Published in 1864)(9:30,31) Translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan MAZNAIM Publishing Corporation. Pages 196-197 “He sent scrolls to all the Jews in 127 lands of Achashverosh’s kingdom, words of peace and truth. To keep these days of Purim at their right time, just as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther had established it and just as they and their children had accepted the order to fast and pray.
The message began with words of peace, like all other letters. Although there was a difference between walled cities and unwalled towns, both were to respect the days of the other. Thus, for example, although unwalled towns celebrate Purim on the 14th, they are also to keep the 15th as a minor holiday. [This is usually referred to as Shushan Purim].
Mordecai also instructed the Jews not to abandon the study of Torah. It was because of this neglect that the persecution had come; and in the merit of the children who studied Torah the Jews were saved. Mordecai stressed to the Jews that they were to adhere to the truth of the Torah.
The ‘order to fast” mentioned here alludes to the Fast of Esther, which has been discussed earlier.
Purim is also a special time for prayer. Especially beneficial is the recitation of the Psalms.
If one looks at the original Hebrew of “and on their children….the order to fast, “it is ve-aL zaraM divrei Y ha-tzomo Th (Veal zaram divrei hatzomos) one sees that the final letters spell out Tillim, and the Hebrew word for “Psalms.”
A number of years ago two former talmidim of MTJ Yeshiva whose families made Aliya (not the same year) were murdered in Israel. Whenever I read about such tragedies it brings back sad memories. The latest of the two sweet innocent Paley children brought back even more tears. Of course, there is tremendous sadness when anyone dies so tragically in Eretz Yisroel such as the two Yaniv brothers and the Paley brothers. Both mothers also reminded me of the mothers of the two children I remembered. Instead of being filled with anger or questioning Hakadosh Boruch Hu, we learned about their love for H, love for the Torah and their love for Klal Yisroel. Encouraging Ahavat Chinam and the path of Torah that Klal Yisroel should take meant so much to them. We must always remember Chaveirim Kol Yisroel and Am Yisroel Chai.
The levaya and kevurah for Elan Ganeles A”H (age 26) who was murdered this week in Eretz Yisroel was held in Ra’anana this past Wednesday. The family who are members of the Young Israel of West Hartford, Connecticut will be observing the remainder of shiva in their home in West Hartford.
In my recent Moments of Inspiration, I shared the tremendous Kiddush H Rav Gershon Tannenbaum zt”l made. How much Shalom Al Yisroel meant to him and shalom, peace, with all regardless of their religious or cultural background. He was respected by one and all and so regal in his rabbinic attire. He was a remarkable ambassador of H and Klal Yisroel and we should continue to emulate his ways. We should all be mispallel to have Shalom Al Yisroel and for Mashiach Tzedkeinu to come Bimheira Beyameinu Amein Sela.
From The Gentle Weapon
Prayers for Everyday and Not-So-Everyday Moments
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
Jewish Lights Publishing
“G, You’ve given me
the physical, emotional
and spiritual will
to overcome so many obstacles
that have risen before me.
How many times have I faced
what I perceived to be
impossible, hopeless situations
and withstood them-
and discovered creative solutions
through which to surmount
and master them.
You’ve strengthened me
again and again
I know that You
will never fail me.”
Thank you. Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank