Message From the Har Nof Widows

Har Nof Widows Letter

[loose translation:]
We turn to acheinu Bnei Yisrael wherever they may be. Let us all come together to increase the rachamei Shomayim shown to us! Let us all accept upon ourselves that we will increase love and brotherhood – between each person and his fellow, between community and community, between major group and major group.

Our request is that every individual should see to it to accept upon himself on Erev Shabbos Parshas Toldos, to sanctify this coming Shabbos as a day of ahavas chinam. It should be a day that we refrain from all kinds of divisive conversation, lashon hora, and rechilus.

This will be a great uplift to the souls of the heads of our families who were slaughtered for the holiness of His Holy Name.

May Hashem look from above, see our affliction, wipe away our tears, and say, “Enough!” to our sorrow.
May we merit to see the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily in our days – Amen, Amen.

Signed with a broken and crushed heart:
Chayah Levine and family
Breina Goldberg and family
Yaakovah Kupinsky and family
Bashi Twersky and family

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14 Responses

  1. malka says:

    Thanks for sharing the letter and the great message. We can definitely each do something. I agree about standing together in brotherhood. We all have different views and see things differently, but we can disagree and still respect each other as fellow Jews.

    Shemiras halashon is a great mitzvah to help our prayers be more effective so we can receive blessing and hopefully bring the redemption soon

  2. Shades of Gray says:

    This is an excerpt from a letter from the Bostoner Rebbe this week in a similar vein:

    “It always inspires me how fellow Jews participate in all the many good causes that are needed by any community – all without expecting anything in return. But there is still more that we can do to increase our love and interaction with our fellow Jew. How many of us know or say hello to our immediate neighbors? How many fail to answer in reply?… Let us make every effort to know what our neighbors are lacking, both their physical and spiritual needs…. Everyone needs friends, as the Gemoro states in Taanis 23a: אמר רבא, היינו דאמרי אינשי: או חברותא או מיתותא ‘give me friends or give me death’. This refers not only to our own personal friends. It means making others aware that someone knows and cares that they exist. It means acknowledging the fact that you appreciate that others are concerned for your welfare.”

  3. Eliezer Eisenberg says:

    Thank you for posting this. Reading it, one senses something ancient and supernaturally powerful- the voice of the Jewish soul. בזכות נשים צדקניות.

  4. dr, bill says:

    I wonder how the rhetoric of a number of recent posts ought be viewed relative to this plea. I was struck by the plea’s use of the language associated with Rav Kook ztl; I assume it was purposeful and powerful.

  5. S. Shalom says:

    This is a very difficult time for all caring Jews! It is not just the recent victims but almost all the recent victims of Arab terrorism and Islamofascism in Israel have been Charedi and Dati Jews and many among them are from the American and Anglo communities who have made Aliya to Israel. People with great idealism. People with great Middos and Yiras Shomayim. Model Jewish and Israeli citizens all!

    Just in recent memory the cold-blooded kidnapping and murder of the three religious young men that resulted in the recent Gaza War. The killing of religious men, women and children at train stations and bus stops who were just commuters and pedestrians going about their normal daily routines who have either been rammed to death by crazed Arabs driving cars and trucks or stabbed and chopped to pieces by “alahu akbar” ranting lunatics. Now the latest tragedy of murder by local Arabs chopping and shooting four outstanding rabbis and wounding others praying Shacharis and the self-sacrifice of an incredibly brave Druze police sergeant who paid with his life fighting for terrorized Jews. This is truly crazy. But there is a pattern emerging of frum religious Charedi, Dati and Orthodox Jews can longer sit around passively and just watch from the sidelines as they become sitting ducks for the next Arab lunatic to take a stab (literally) at them.

    Only insane and irresponsible people sit around waiting to be murdered and do nothing about it beyond the usual davening and teshuva appeals. Of course all Jews must do teshuva. Didn’t the Lubavitcher Rebbe start a campaign of “goodness and kindness” to bring Mashiach long before he died? yet that did not prevent the Lubavitcher Rebbe and many other good people since then from passing away either. So what is this sheer NARISHKEIT of grieving mothers writing letters, on behalf of their families yet, of asking everyone to be “nice” and perform acts of “goodness and kindness”? Who set them up for this because the groundswell below is NOT thinking like this at all. People are angry and they want action. It is time for a reevaluation.

    The ground below is shifting dramatically. Old “solutions” no longer work. Jews are not living in the Ghettos of Eastern Europe, nor in their gilded cages in the Western World, nor in the Shuks of the Middle East.

    Something else is called for and everyone knows it! This letter while it is heart-rending and terrible to read because real people are hurting and suffering is NOT the answer that the people of Israel and the frum world is looking for. Praying and character development during the Holocaust is fine and dandy, but guns are also a solution during wartime.

    For every Jew murdered in the Holocaust in Europe, there was another Jew in the Free World supporting his armed brethren in the fight against the Nazis and Fascists. Half a million Jews served in the US armed forces. Over half a million Jews fought in the Russian army. Jews from Palestine fought for the British as much as did British, Canadian, South African and New Zealand Jews. When Jews could they fought back, and it made a huge difference. Think of Albert Einstein’s contribution to ending World War Two once and for all !!!

    Let us place the problem in a different context. Let’s say, as we know, drivers and pedestrians are dangerously texting and driving placing both categories in great danger and, as we also know, increasing fatalities and injuries from road accidents that result from such irresponsible behavior. Do we then go to the families of all the dead and injured drivers and victims and ask them to write public letters asking people to be “nicer and kinder”? No! We warn people to stop texting and driving and if they will not listen they should be punished. We do not switch to “philosopher mode” and cast our eyes Heavenward (simply just “denial” as they call it) and try to find out the “Divine Reason” why God is “punishing” us (as if we all suddenly aspire and subscribe to become mystics searching for “why the good suffer and the wicked flourish?” better left for later ruminations in retirement about the meaning of life, suffering and the imponderable, insoluble check-mate riddle of death and how inscrutable and mysterious the ways of God truly are — all TRUE, but so what? when dealing with mad jihadis acting like reincarnated banzai zombies right in front of us!!) but rather we look to see how we can take ACTION to stop the meshugana and evil murderers and hence stop the deaths and injuries.

    Rav Avigdor Miller would often tell over that when certain types of tragedies happened to people they would come to him to ask “why Hashem did this to me?” And Rav Miller would then ask what happened. They would tell him they left a child in a kitchen unattended with a boiling pot of water or soup on the stove and it “somehow” fell onto a nearby toddler searing the child, of they left a room that had a window open for a minute and then suddenly the “child fell out the window” and died, or someone left some Friday night Shabbos candles after they lit them and went to visit a neighbor and the house caught fire and burned down. Who is to blame asks Rav Miller? Is it Hashem? Did Hashem put the water to boil on the stove, or did Hashem leave the window open, or did Hashem leave unattended the candles that set the house on fire? No! It was the YOUR NEGLIGENCE that did it. Sure, Hashem is behind EVERYTHING because NOTHING at all happens in this world without it being decreed by Him, but that is only an explanation about how the Hashgocha Elyona (Divine Prividence) works. At the same time the Torah warns us to take precautions to guard our own welfare IN ALL WAYS “VeNishmartem Me’od lenafshotaichem” – the Torah commandment to guard one’s NEFESH meaning one’s very LIFE (Deuteronomy. 4:15). IT’S AS IMPORTANT AS BEING A SHOMER SHABBOS!!

    Furthermore it is incomprehensible that the same people who sit day and night and learn Gemora and Chazal’s about the rishus of Shiva Ha’amim, Yishmael, Edom, and Amalek and what the Torah teaches how each was dealt with, and the simple reality of the halochoh of a “thief discovered while tunneling in one’s house” (habo bamachteres) (see Shemos 22:1) it is permitted to kill the thief even on Shabbos! and certainly if one is surrounded by not just one but tens of thousands of such known “Forty Thieves”.

    Chazal further teach based on Exodus 22:1: “Habo Lehagrocha…hargeihu techila: If someone comes to kill you, get up early in the morning to kill him first.” (Talmud: Berakhot 58a; Yoma 85b; Sanhedrin 72a) so what are we waiting for here if we are surrounded by so many self-declared and proud RODFIM?!

    It is time to dust off the old seforim and leave the theories behind and get on with the Mitzva Lema’aseh and endorsing of Pikuach Nefesh, Eis La’asos LaShem, Milchemes Mitzva, Biur Amalek because the majority of the world’s Jews now find themselves living in their own Land in Eretz Yisroel where they have to take care of themselves. We do not wait for Hashem to build our houses but we pay good money for them and live in them happily, we build them ourselves and are proud of it, we do not wait for Hashem to buy our clothes, we buy it ourselves and wear it proudly, we do not wait for Hashem to pay our wages, we go to school, get a job and earn our salaries, we do not sit around waiting for things to happen when we know we can and should make things happen, of course Teshuva, Tefila and Tzedaka and Torah, Avoda, and Gemilus Chasadim as well as Yiras Shomayim and Shemiras HaMitzvos, are key elements needed but they are NOT the only ones to make things happen in this world of Olam Hape’ulos!

    This is not about “Zionism” or the “Israeli army” and such claptrap. Nobody needs to become a secular Zionist and nobody needs to make an avoda zora out of the Israeli army, but EVERYONE is obligated to use their brains and make the right choices. One cannot be a “pacifist” in time of war and then complain that they were shot by one of the warring sides. It is time for a paradigm shift in the Charedi, dati and Orthodox worlds away from “victimhood” and “galut mentality” of playing the “good victim” and just coming across as forlorn and frankly STUPID, careless and reckless.

    It is time for every adult Jew in Israel to learn and know how to shoot a gun, carry a gun and learn self-defense. They threw “chairs” at the terrorists how “cute” and “pathetic”! EVERY Jewish man and woman IN ISRAEL should be trained how to use and be armed with at least a pistol or revolver and certainly a rifle or automatic weapon, and known how to use it and go for target practice as often as he or she goes for a morning walk. Just as one needs to know how to dress oneself, feed oneself, take care of one self, be trained in the ways to use electricity safely and rules of the road about what constitutes safe versus dangerous traffic and driving, and how to use a cell phone and computer for various needs. That would make a huge difference and warn enemies that you do not mess with the Jews even when they are praying!

    Hope this comes about soon.

    Written with a grieving heart that is full of pain and anger at what is going on!

  6. chaviv says:

    Rabosai, rosh chodesh Kislev (starting tomorrow night) is the yahrtzeit of the K’doshim Gavriel Holtzberg, Rivka Holtzberg, Arieh Leibush Teitelbaum, Ben Zion Kruman who were murdered על קידוש ה in Mumbai six years ago. Please say one פרק תהלים (chapter from the Book of Psalms) for the alyiah of their neshamos!

    A good Shabbos to all the Yiden!

  7. Raymond says:

    Whoever this S. Shalom is, he is definitely a man after my own heart. He so eloquently and passionately says what I have been saying all along, but I have been rebuffed time and time again by the Orthodox community for saying such things. What makes S. Shalom’s comments different and more socially acceptable than how I have put it over the years, is that he is a Torah scholar who can effortlessly back these ideas up through solid Torah sources. Yet even a Torah novice like me, has wondered why top Torah luminaries like Abraham, Moses, and King David did not think of themselves as too spiritual to not engage in military warfare when necessary, yet the mainstream Chareidi society of today, apparently does have such a puzzling mindset.

    There have been terrible acts of evil committed right here in the United States, in which truly horrible monsters have walked into places like elementary schools and universities, where they proceeded to murder dozens of innocent human beings in cold blood. What all of these places have in common, is that all of them are gun-free zones. Such a policy is an open invitation for such acts of evil, because the murderers know that they will not be met with a violent reaction. These supposedly insane murderers, are somehow sane enough to avoid attempting their deeds in, say, a gun range.

    I heard recently to my unpleasant surprise, that the average Jewish citizen in Israel, is not allowed to own a gun. Well, then, it is no mystery at all why these horrible things keep happening. As effective as the Israeli army and police may be, they still cannot be in all places at all times. As long as Israel does not adopt this country’s Second Amendment that allows the average citizen to keep and bear arms, the horrible, thoroughly heartbreaking and maddening massacres that have happened in Israel, will continue to happen.

  8. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    I concur with S. Shalom that we have to take self-defense seriously. We also have to get the frum Jews home to Eretz Yisrael. We need political action so that the national institutions and the IDF will be more friendly to religious people. When that happens and Tzahal behaves (even) more like Hashem’s Holy Army, religious people who are reticent to participate because of the danger of going off the derech will be more inclined to do the normal and healthy thing, get their basic military training and get normal qualifications to work at normal jobs to make a normal living. As for the special people who should be dedicated to the Torah 24/7, an increase in the number of Torah-dedicated Jews in Eretz Yisrael would make the government and army more sensitive to that need. To do that we need to conquer different kinds of fear, the physical and the spiritual, and we need the reality check of the sort that Rav Miller zt”l suggested. A friend who spent a number of years in kollel of Yeshivat Netzach Yisrael during the last years of Rav Gustman zt”l reported to me that he said that were he younger he would have gone into the army. Many of his younger Israeli talmidim did so.

  9. Martin Bennett says:

    A very thought provoking article, very well reasoned and I agree with its sentiment

  10. Bob Miller says:

    S. Shalom made a quasi-valid point, although prayer and good deeds are always essential. However, while a freelance “every gunman for himself” approach could at least create a deterrent to rampaging Arabs, I think something more organized is called for. Communities need to think seriously about organizing their own security details staffed with qualified volunteers. And if no one is qualified, provide the needed training to the right people to qualify them. The volunteer organizations should coordinate with police, and the police (and the national government, too!) should wake up in general to their own responsibilities.

    We should reflect on the dereliction of duty at all levels that gave the Arabs a green light to do their atrocious deeds.

  11. DavidF says:

    S. Shalom echoed my thoughts exactly. It is all well and good to be nice to each other [whatever that means – most of our differences are theological and not going to disappear anytime soon], but to paraphrase an old saying: “You don’t bring good middos to a gunfight.” We can be nice and loving, but we also need to know how to disarm the terrorists and how to fight back when they Ch”v appear.
    Just as I purchased life insurance when I started building my family, I also trained in firearms and can now shoot a weapon with reasonable accuracy. I keep a powerful shotgun in my home and have clarified the law regarding when it is appropriate to use it. I wish everyone would do likewise, but in the Charedi community that I reside, it’s not a popular idea unfortunately and I’m not enough of a maverick to change that.
    I also learned a minimal amount of self-defense and while I’m not match for anyone proficient in martial arts, I’m confident that I can defend myself against a common street thug. Years ago I was threatened by a semi-drunk anti-semite and did not hesitate to let him know that even if only one of his fingers would touch my jacket, he could count on landing in the hospital where he would enjoy a nice long recovery period. Thankfully, he knew I was serious and backed off. Had I not had the training in self-defense, I doubt I would have been as cool and collected as I was and I might have been in much worse state when he was done with me.

    My dream is for every single one of our young men to learn some self-defense and how to handle firearms. Believe me – when they figure out that we’re not defenseless, they’ll be a whole let less eager to instigate.

  12. Nechama says:

    Beautiful letter. Thank you for sharing.
    I agree with S. Shalom that good deeds are but one part of the equation. Many people on the ‘charedi street’ are talking about gun ownership. I’m talking about BY graduates like myself and some family members who were having a conversation about our desire to have concealed handguns in our bags. This is easier said than done, with the draconian anti-gun laws here. My husband’s chavrusa, in the Mir, has to content himself with taking krav maga classes (of questionable use in such circumstances) because he has no way of getting what he had when he was back in the States, a gun.
    Something along the lines of Bob Miller’s volunteer idea is more practical given the lack of 2nd amendment here.
    Ichud Hatzala has been talking about arming its volunteers, and that’s a good start.

  13. Steve Brizel says:

    I have read many articles, listened to on line hespedim, and attended a hug communal hesped. Yet, the words of Rebbitzen Twersky Shetichye that R Moshe Twersky was niftar “Bkedusha uvetahara” summed up everything about the Arbaah Kedoshim, HaShem Yimkam The annexed link says it allDamam. We should try to live our lives Bkedusha Uvetaharah.

  14. Cvmay says:

    Passivity is a Jewish middah adopted and transferred from Europe to the holy land. Our Sephardic brothers have always had a more militant & aggressive stance learned by living for years with ARAB neighbors.

    As Kahane preached “Every JEW a 22″…. The frum world cringed & gulped at such a goyisha idea. Yet protection & security needs must be available — How???

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