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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Steve Brizel
7 years 6 months ago

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!

Steve Brizel
7 years 7 months ago

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.

7 years 7 months ago

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.

L Oberstein
7 years 7 months ago

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.

Steve Brizel
7 years 7 months ago

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