By Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst
I awoke this morning – as we all did – to the most horrifying news. Two Arabs have perpetrated a massacre of Jews while they Davened Shacharit in a Shul in Yerushalayim. With a gun and meat cleavers. Butchers’ tools.
I was on my way to Shul when I heard the news. I too was about to Daven Shacharit. “Am I allowed to? Will the Arabs let me?”
“Which Shul did the massacre occur in?” I wanted to know. Why did that matter? Because I wanted to know how close to home the mayhem and murder had come. “Are they attacking me? Did they come to murder me?” I am in the New York area, not in Yerushalayim.
“In Har Nof”, someone said. Suddenly it was not so distant. My wife, Sori and I have friends and family living there. I thought,
“This is close.”
I Davened Shacharit. As I Davened, I wondered if they would let me. If they could, they would attack me too. No doubt, they want to prevent me from saying “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad” out loud – very loud, because now I have to say it for four who will never utter those words again.
“One of the victims was Rav Moshe Twersky”, I was told. Now he is “Rav Moshe Twersky, Zeicher Tzadik V`kaddosh L`verachah, Hashem Yinkam Dammo”.
Rav Moshe was a great Talmid Chacham, Rosh Kollel of Yeshiva Toras Moshe, a Yeshiva where many of our children have studied. He was a scion of the great Torah family of Shalshelet Brisk, a grandson of Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik, ZT”L. I had the privilege to meet his father, ZT”L. His father-in-law was Rav Abba Berman, ZT”L. His wife, Basha Miriam attended Bais Yaakov High School in Monsey at the same time as Sori, and her sister, Esther was a friend and classmate of Sori’s. His brother, Rav Meyer is a beloved friend, a Rosh Yeshivah at RIETS and a great teacher who I have invited and who has spoken and taught in our Shul many times. I thought,
“This is very close.”
“Three U.S. citizens and one British subject were murdered.” There are tens of Yesomim. They were Davening Shacharit. They came from where I come from. They were where we all come from.
This is not just close. This happened to me and to us, here.
This is my Mourning.