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 ]