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 8 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… Read more »

Steve Brizel
7 years 8 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 8 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 8 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… Read more »

Steve Brizel
7 years 8 months ago

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

7 years 8 months ago

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

Dov Kay
7 years 8 months ago

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.

7 years 8 months ago

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.

Isidore Kaufman
7 years 8 months ago

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”.… Read more »

Rachel W
7 years 8 months ago

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… Read more »

Bob Miller
7 years 8 months ago

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… Read more »

michoel halberstam
7 years 8 months ago

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

Steve Brizel
7 years 8 months ago

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?