United in Tefillah

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These are trying times, to be sure. Without trying very hard, the Orthodox world finds itself united in the way it deals with its heavy hearts and foreboding thoughts. People are all doing the same thing – only differently.

What we are all doing is employing the Kol Yaakov. To be sure, we are doing it in many different ways, but across the Orthodox landscape, we are all turning to tefillah.

So many different concerns weigh heavily upon us: the heart-wrenching events in Toulouse, and images from the levayos; the unusually long list of Torah luminaries who are ill; the mounting danger of war with Iran. Various communities have prioritized them differently, but they have all recognized that we can come closer to the Borei Olam in times of stress, and when that happens, the Shechinah comes moves towards us with a caress of soothing love. The tefillah programs vary as well. The RCA has called for special tehillim and prayer on Shabbos; others have organized Yom Kippur Katan tefillos on Thursday. The common denominator is the call for us to open our hearts and lips in beseeching Divine compassion.

May HKBH take note of what unites Torah Jews internally, even in the face of all the differences in external trappings.

Rav Shlomo Amar, shlit”a, the Rishon LeTzion, penned a beautiful letter in response to the tragedy in Tolouse. He has a special neshamah. (You can enlarge the image by clicking on the letter.)

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7 Responses

  1. Moishe Pipik says:

    I understand what you say about the Toulouse tragedy, and the Iran concern is on everyone’s mind, but you lose me when you include “the Torah luminaries who are ill” on a par with these. Both because I have no idea who these luminaries you refer to are, and because, whoever they may be, I dont see how you can equate illness with murder and Iran.

    [YA – I’m not sure how to compare or prioritize. Apples and oranges. But I’m sure you don’t mean that there is no connection between them. How many gemaros (a few of them cited in several places in Rashi on Chumash) assert that with the death of a tzadik comes a loss of his protective merit for the entire generation. And that is without factoring in the actual loss of the Torah luminary’s teaching and guidance.]

  2. Raymond says:

    I wish my Hebrew would be good enough to understand that letter. And yes, it is difficult to just keep track of the multiple forces against our people, let alone feel that we are in any way in control of things. Just speaking for me personally, the aspect of all this that never seems to leave my mind, is the image of that islamofascist murderer, chasing after that sweet little seven-year-old girl in that schoolyard, firing several bullets into her sweet little head, at point-blank range. What kind of monster would even consider doing such a thing? How much more evil can anybody get? Why is the hatred against us that strong and unrelenting? Is our constant attempts to build civilization so repugnant to those who love death, that they are willing to be that cruel and that evil? And why do we let them get away with it? Why do we let them win battle after battle in the propaganda war against us? How much suffering must our people endure? Do we REALLY deserve to suffer such unmitigated evil? When will it stop? When will the world simply leave us alone, and let us build this world? More and more, I am coming to believe that without the Torah, the world is incapable of behaving in a civilized manner. And even WITH the Torah, there is no guarantee, either, for the forces of evil are just so strong and without any shame or sense of guilt whatsoever. Very sad. Very tragic. And I feel completely helpless to do anything about it.

  3. Baruch Cohen says:

    Whenever my father used the word, “we” it meant “you.”
    “Baruch, WE need to build the Sukkah” meant, you, Baruch, should build it.
    “Baruch, WE need to shovel the snow in the driveway” meant, you, Baruch should shovel…
    “WE need the leaves of the front yard raked up and bagged” meant, you, Baruch should rake….
    “We need to stay focesd, meant, you-know-who, had to stay focused….
    It’s the proverbial “we”

    Can we please translate the letter?
    [YA – I heartily agree with your father. Yes, we, can!]

  4. Baruch Cohen says:

    Perhaps you can translate his letter?

    [YA – To paraphrase the immortal Tonto, “What do you mean ‘you,’ white man?”]

  5. Effy says:

    Can someone please post an accurate translation of Rav Amar’s letter ASAP?
    Thanks so much!

  6. L. Oberstein says:

    In Baltimore, the vaad Harabbanim has called for a gathering of Tehillim on March 29 at 8 PM at Shomrei Emunah. we are good at praying when things are rough. I await the day when we can unify in times of health and peace also.

  7. lacosta says:

    maybe Hashem sends tragedy because that’s the only way to get even a mere semblance of ‘ahavas yisrael’ that every group claims they have for all other jews…

    [YA – Interestingly, if you watch the YouTubes of the levayah and kevurah, you will see on the ZAKA team that carried the kedoshim yeshiva-type black yarmulkas, a chassid with peyos, and a kippah serugah. In this, R”L, we find the ability to work together.]