The Eight Kedoshim

Who can console us, for what is beyond consolation? The pictures of the eight kedoshim, the choicest korbanos that Klal Yisrael could offer, haunt us beyond words.

I have forgotten which chronicler of the Churban wrote of his own despair when he witnessed the SS tormenting an elderly rov in one of the ghettos. Suddenly, one of the soldiers let out a shriek, and all of them let go of the victim. Instead, they turned their destructive attention to a sefer Torah they had discovered, venting their fury upon it.

He found consolation in that. He realized that the Nazis were not waging a war against people and bodies, but against the Torah itself, against G-d Himself. However many bodies they destroyed – and there were millions more to come – , whatever the cause for a period of charon af/ Divine anger, G-d would surely in the end snuff out those bent on snuffing Him out.

The terrorist who carefully cased Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav, an icon for Torah study, carefully aimed five hundred bullets at the heart of Torah itself. The target was more than deliberate. R. Chaim Brisker, they say, held that Amalek was not a particular group of people descended from their ancestors. Amalek is any group that displays the same hatred for G-d Himself. Some in our community have resisted applying the label of Amalek to the Palestinians (since, unlike Amalek, they do have cause, however unjustified, to see themselves as an aggrieved party in a struggle over land). They should now reconsider. The society that preaches martyrdom to children, that rejoices in the street over the deaths of students huddled over sacred texts, that praises death over life – this society has become Amalek.

May we find some measure of comfort in the realization that Amalek has declared war on Hashem Himself, not just us. May He move quickly into action against those who seek to destroy Him, and those who substitute Thantos, god of the jihadists, for the One G-d of the civilized world.

יהי רצון לפניך שומע קול בכיות
שתשים דמעותינו בנאדך להיות
ותצילנו מכל גזירות אכזריות
כי לך לבד ענינו תלויות

[Through one of our readers, we received this request from the father of one of the Kedoshim, regarding an appropriate way to memorialize him:

One of the aspects of Yonadav [Hirshfield] is that he was always getting in an extra few minutes of learning.

In light of all this, a proper memorial for him and the other victims is to resolve to (Bli Neder – of course) add 5 minutes a day of Torah learning – in any of those few times during the day in which we find ourselves doing nothing ]

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13 comments to The Eight Kedoshim

  • Steve Brizel

    When will we see a Kol Koreh decrying the demise of these Kdoshim or a call for Tehilim for the many Cholim and Yesomim of this dastardly attack that combined both Kiddush HaShem as well as Chillul HaShem in the destruction of a Beis Medrash, Sefarim, Tashmishei Kedusha and the murder of 8 young men while their government engages in a “peace process” and seemingly is failing to provide self-defense?When we will see a Kol Koreh denouncing the participation of any Torah observant party in such a government?

  • michoel halberstam

    Steve, the appropriate question is when we will stop seeing “Kol Korehs” at all? We can then discuss what is really bothering you.

  • Bob Miller

    Recent News Someone Might Have Missed:

    1) (THURSDAY – Yeshiva World News)

    Following the murderous attack, the Bostoner Rebbe Shlita called for everyone to say Tehillim. The Rebbe Shlita is “asking every Yid wherever he is, whatever he is doing, to stop now and recite three chapters of Tehillim, any three chapters. Those who need a Refua Shleima should be healed, those that need a yeshua to get the yeshua they need.

    Now is a time for all Yidden to stand together and direct ourselves to the Ribbono Shel Olam. Hundreds packed many Shuls and Batei Midrashim throughout Eretz Yisroel to say Tehillim on Thursday night. Hundreds reportedly gathered in the Mir Yerushalayim Bais Medrash. In the United States, Many Shuls were quickly arranging many Tehillim, and Kinnos Hisorirus gatherings for Thursday night. As of this time, YWN has learned that K’hal Tiferes Yackov (Hagoen Rav Avrohom Schorr Shlita) will be having a Kinnus Hisorirus at 10:00PM [1212 East 15th Street]; and the Agudath Yisroel Bais Binyomin will be having a Kinnus Hisorirus at 10:30PM; and the Mora D’asra – Rav Pinchos Breuer Shlita will be speaking for men and women [2913 Avenue L]. In Baltimore there will be a community gathering for Tehillim tonight at 8:15PM at Shearith Israel Congregation (the “Glen Avenue Shul”).

    2) (FRIDAY – NY Sun)

    “Just as there is a special place in hell for perpetrators of attacks on men women and children doing nothing but going about their daily lives, there is a special section there reserved for attackers of young men who were sitting and studying Torah,” said the director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, Rabbi Avi Shafran. “Those who were killed, not the murderers for whom Palestinians use the word, are true martyrs, holy innocent souls killed only because they are Jews.”

    3) (SUNDAY – Yeshiva World News)

    Belzer Rebbe Shlita Visits Bochrim Injured In Merkaz Massacre

    The Belzer Rebbe Shlita visited Shaarei Tzedek Hospital on Sunday, to visit the Bochrim who remain hospitalized from gunshot wounds. The Rebbe arrived with his son and first stopped in at the Intensive Care Unit – where one boy remains in grave condition. The Rebbe sat next to the bed, and spoke with the boys father – giving him much needed Chizuk in these devastating times. The Rebbe then went to another boy – who is B”H recovering from his wounds – and sat with him for a while. The Bochur related the entire incident was had transpired on that dreadful Thursday night which none of us will ever forget. The Rebbe then too gave the boy words of Chizuk to help him pull through. These are the only two Bochrim which are still in Shaarei Tzedek Hospital – as
    some others were Boruch Hashem discharged this morning. It is interesting to note, that upon hearing of the horrifying attack, the Rebbe stopped taking any visitors, and locked himself in his room to Daven and say Tehillim. Thousands of Belzer Chassidim had been visiting Yerushalayim last week for the Bar Mitzvah of the oldest Einikel of the Rebbe – but did not allow anyone to come in. The Rebbe then attended the Levaya on Friday along with a large group of Belzer Chassidim.
    Additionally, YWN has learned that there will be a Hesped in Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav at the end of the week, and the Rebbe is scheduled to attend.

    [added by Editor:

    Monsey , NY - This past weekend the Anti Zionist Satmar Rabbi, Rabbi Aaron Titelbaum of Kiryas Joel, NY, visited with his chasididim in Monsey NY, to raise money for new Satmar facility's in Monsey.

    In his speech, he took a few moments to recognize, and to speak about the shooting attack on the Merkaz H'Rav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, with a sad voice the Rabbi said, "the shooting is like the burning of the Beth Hamikdosh, he continued to say "although its a modern yeshiva [most likely he meant a pro Zionist philosophy] its a very sad era for klal yisreol, that in middle of torah learning an evil ‘Rotzech’ can walk in, and spray shoot torah learning Bochrim” the Rabbi said. and he raised his voice with sadness “Tzion Bemar Tivkah, Velirushilayim Titen Kolah” “ציון במר תבכה וירושלים תתן קולה”

    The Rabbi extended a heartfelt condolences to the family who lost their loved ones, and wished for a speedy recovery for the many who still remain injured.]

  • Rachel W

    Steve –
    Are you unaware that, upon receiving news of this horrific massacre, the Yeshivos and Batei Medrash filled with people saying Tehillim? The Gedolim expressed their pain publicly, and now the yeshivos are once again filled with boys and men learning Torah, surely with the victims HY”D in mind. I do not think that Kol Koreis are neccesary at this time – actions are. And learning and saying Tehillim L’zecher nishmasam and YB”LCT for a Refuah Shleima for those in the hospital, as well as a yeshua for the anguish of the other students and the families is more in place than public declarations.

    May Hashem comfort all of Klal Yisroel at this terrible time and bring us only Yeshuos and Nechamos with the coming of Moshiach Bimheira.

  • Isidore Kaufman

    I would like to expand a bit on Steve Brizel’s comment(March 10 2008@ 8:35 am)

    It is time for our Gedolim (Chasidic and Roshei Yeshiva) to issue a “pasok halacha” concerning matters fundamental to Eretz Yisroel. For example is the fact that we have some influence (I use that word advisedly) and receive some funds for the benefit of important Mosdos justify participating in a government who has given back our land to Rashaim for the promise (again used advisedly) of peace. It is time for the whole land for peace and all its ramifications be subjected to “Das Torah”. If they have varying opinions those should be aired.

  • Shalhevet

    Oy. Here in Yerushalayim, everyone is mourning, everyone is eulogizing, everyone is davening for refuos. I am not sure to what you are refering… I think the reaction of all, across the Jewish spectrum is pretty similar. I have heard the same basic words from chiloni, DL and charedi Jews here.
    May we all be comforted and hear only besurot tovot in the future.

  • Dov Kay

    This is not the occasion to be pedantic, but I must point out this view of Amalek was that of Rav Chaim Brisker’s eldest son, Rav Moshe.

  • YM

    It is a miracle that a gunman who fired 500 bullets only killed eight.

  • Steve Brizel

    Halevai that all of us could learn from the wonderful example of the Belzer Rebbe.

  • L Oberstein

    The fact that the Belzer Rebbe actually came to the funeral is a milestone. That is because he is his own man and doesn’t look over his shoulders to see what the other rebbes and rabbonim will say. Halevei that Rav Elyashiv would go to the shloshim, it would be such a kiddush hashem. However, he is very old and the people around him would see that it didn’t happen.
    This is not the time for politics, but ,tragically, few seem to be able to overcome their political views even at a time like this. How else can one explain the insults to members of the Israeli government that cut short their visits to Mercaz Harav. They were yelled at and insulted by the students and Olmert was told not to even attempt a visit.
    Their emotion is understandable but not condonable. The leaders of the Israeli Government are no more the enemy than the Ziuonist Yeshivos are to the chareidi yeshivos. We all need to follow the Belzer Rebbe’s example.

  • tzippi

    YM, it is a miracle but like any terrorist act, we can’t lose sight of those who are injured (and should have a speedy, complete recovery), and who may bear lasting physical and/or emotional scars. The news may cover the immediate casualties, but never checks in again at 4, 8, 16 weeks and beyond.

  • Steve Brizel

    FWIW, the OU is sponsoring a night of Tehilim, Hespedim and a Kel Male at the YI of Flatbush at 8:00 with R K Aumann, R T H Weinreb and R D Goldwasser speakings and urges those who are unable to make it to organize such events locally.

  • Steve Brizel

    For those interested, this week’s Yated ( yes-we are avid readers and almost on the verge of subscribing!) had the finest and most moving coverage of who were these young Kdoshim-their midos tovos, and hasmadah, etc and the overwhelming signs of solidarity and achdus in the Charedi street and by many Gdolim and Admorim such as the Satmar and Belzer Rebbes which were mentioned by other posters. The editor of the Yated wrote a very moving poem on the front page which IMO is must reading for any Ben or Bas Torah. No other Jewish periodical came close in this regard except for Mishpacha. Both deserve a tremendous Yasher Koach for bringing out who were these young men. OTOH, The JW ran a “human interest” story on the perpetrator’s family!