| Dedicated in memory of Rabbi Gabriel-Noach
and Rivka Holtzberg (the sister of Ascent's executive director Rabbi Shaul
Leiter's daughter-in-law), Rabbi Aryeh-Leib Teitelbaum (the cousin of Ascent's
managing director, Rabbi Yosef Moshe Spira), and the other martyrs of the
Mumbai massacre. |
[The following edited version is based on the printed
article from non-Chabad source in the English edition of HaModia, 14 Kislev 5769]
On Shabbat Parshat Toldot, Harav Moshe
Wofson, Mashgiach of Mesivta Torah Vadaas and Rav of Beis Medrash Emunas Yisroel,
addressed the topic on everyone's mind since the terror attack in Mumbai, India,
that killed close to 200 people, among them the Chabad shaliach, his wife, two
kashrus mashgichim and several other Jews. The following is an edited excerpt
of his address, which Rav Wolfson approved, prepared by Yochonon Donn for HaModia,
14 Kislev 5769 [and further edited by Ascent].
The events of these
tragic days leave all of us with the feeling that significant things are happening
- things which we might not be aware of, but our souls feel them.
that a young couple who traveled to a faraway country to continue the work of
the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zatzal (may the remembering of the tzadik be for
a blessing), was cut down in such a brutal fashion must impact the way every Jew
goes on. Two kashrut supervisors who went to the Mumbai Chabad House for the Mincha
afternoon prayer were also killed.
The holy Zohar says that when a Jew
is killed - especially if the murder is on account of his religion, as occurred
in Mumbai - he goes to a special place in Heaven: the heichal (chamber)
The Zohar further says that on its way to this special chamber,
the holy martyr passes by the halls where the Avot (the three patriarchs)
There are unfortunately many terror attacks in the world in
our era. It is rare that Jews all over the world should become so captivated with
finding out what is happening during any single attack as was with the one against
the Chabad center in Mumbai. People were following it on an hour-by-hour basis,
trying to figure out the latest news as it was taking place.
says about the Jewish people that "if they are not prophets, they are sons
of prophets." 'Sons of prophets' signifies a level lower than actual prophecy,
in which only the soul "sees" the prophecy, but the person himself does
not. However, although a Jew does not know that he is receiving a prophecy, he
has a deep-seated feeling that something historic is taking place in Heaven. The
natural state of a Jew is to be tuned in to these prophecies - even though he
does not actually realize it.
The tremendous outpouring of interest and
concern displayed by the Jewish community worldwide to the tragic event is a testament
to this. Something important is taking place in Heaven now. However, we are not
prophets, but we are children of prophets, so we do not know what it is.
holy Arizal [of Safed] said that before a new historic period for the Jewish People
can arrive, a sacrifice of a great tzadik (righteous person) is required
to initiate that era.
The Arizal notes that before the Mishkan (Sanctuary)
could be sanctified, Nadav and Avihu (the two sons of Aharon the high priest)
had to pass away, as G-d said: "Bikrovai ekadesh -- I will be sanctified
with those who are close to Me." (One bullet pierced the
Torah Scroll in the Mumbai Chabad House, it penetrated in the section that speaks
of the death of Nadav and Avihu
The building of
the first Holy Temple was preceded by the passing of Avishai ben Tzeruyah - the
Talmud in Brachot states that Avishai was comparable to the entire Great
Sanhedrin (supreme court of law consisting of the 70 leading sages) - and the
second Temple's construction did not begin until after Daniel's murder by Haman.
Arizal even says that the Oral Torah was only able to be recorded after "Rabbi
Akiva and his friends" - the Ten Martyrs (cruelly murdered by the Romans
that we read about on Yom Kippur) - lost their lives.
We are living in momentous
times. Things are happening in Heaven that we are not aware of; we only feel it
intuitively. Who knows for what purpose the Chabad emissary and his wife were
It can be said that India is home to the most concentrated
forms of avoda zara (idol worship) today, which unfortunately attracts
many Jews. The shaliach (agent) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Mumbai devoted
his life to bringing closer to Jewish life even these types of Jews, and will
certainly continue. He is still on his mission. [And there is
already a new Chabad rabbi in Mombai, and hundreds of thousands of dollars have
already been raised to rebuild the Chabad House there. --Ascent]
Lubavitcher Rebbe devoted his life to bringing the Jewish people closer to the
era of Mashiach - we can be sure that his shaliach will continue his mission from
his lofty place in Heaven. On his way to the chamber of Mashiach, as he passes
Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, he should tell them the truth about the harsh exile
that we are in.
How many Jews have been killed or injured in terror attacks
around the world? How many were felled by the various illnesses that have taken
so many away in their prime and left tears and misery in their wake? Jews are
struggling to make a living, and there is so much unhappiness due to shidduch
(finding a spouse) issues and other problems.
We must improve our prayers,
Torah study and erhlichkeit (sincerity) in response to this horrific tragedy.
That is the only way we can assure that it will not have been in vain.
question we started off with - how can this happen to good people? - is not a
new one. Three millennia ago, Moshe Rabbeinu stood on Har Sinai prophetically
watching Rabbi Akiva getting skinned alive with white hot iron combs, and asked
G-d: "Zu Torah vezu secharah? -- Is this the reward for Rabbi Akiva's
outstanding labor in Torah?"
G-d's answer transcends anything we could
come up with in response to the Mumbai attack: "Kach ala bemachshavah
-- this is part of My Master plan for the world's rectification."