By Kivi Attar
Everyone is mourning the horrific tragedies that occurred over the past week in France.
Countless people were murdered in the name of Religious Extremism.
We read about these events in the news and it bothers us and we feel it’s wrong. We may even want to act and
to try and make a difference but we rarely do.
Then on Friday another attack occurred. This one a little closer to home. Just before Shabboss as people were
buying their last minute Shabbat goods they were gunned down in the Supermarket. Imagine fathers, husbands,
brothers and friends buying Challah or cold cuts or candles for Shabboss gunned down. Their only wrongdoing being the
religion they’ve chosen to keep.
But yet again we get angry, we’re pained but to quickly the pain goes away and we fail to act. “We didn’t really
know them” we’ll rationalize.
Their friends will remember them and avenge their deaths.
And right or wrong these feelings are human nature.
I’d like to make the headlines over the past week a little more personal to my friends and associates and even all of
American Jewry who may feel a little disconnected from the events last week.
In the summer of 2012 Emmy and I visited the Jewish communities of Tunisia. While there, the Rabbi’s son was
our tour guide. Showing us around and arranging for all the logistics. The Rabbi’s son was a sweet young man. Treating
us like family and introducing us to everyone as his cousins. He took us into his home and made us feel welcome in a
very unwelcoming environment. (Tunisia post revolution)
This young man was Yoav Hattab one of the Kedoshim (victims) of Friday’s attack. Over the course of our trip,
Yoav developed a very close relationship with our seven month old son Baruch. The picture attached to this article is
Yoav feeding little Baruch Attar on the beach in Tunis.
The Ksav Sofer was rumored to have remarked:
“When a Jew in Vilna speaks Loshon Harah (gossip) a Jew in Paris desecrates the Shabbat”
The Ksav Sofer’s message isn’t about Jewish guilt but rather the constant bond of all Jewry. Just because we live
thousands of miles away. We speak different languages and our hobbies and even ways of praying and connecting to
God may be different; the bond is still there. Brothers are brothers are brothers.
I’d like to add to the Ksav Sofer.
“When a Jew in Paris is killed a Jew in New York, Miami, LA, (Charleston) and the whole word over feels the pain and
mourns their death.”
Every Shabbat morning in the service just before Mussaf in the Av Harachamim prayer we chant the words:
“O nations sing the praise of his people for he will avenge the blood of his servants and he will bring retribution upon his
foes.”We state that Hashem will avenge the deaths of his people.
Being the case what are we supposed to do?
What message must we take?
After tragedies what should we do?
I can honestly say I don’t have the answer. I can’t say I know why Yoav or Philippe or Yohan or Francois were
brutally murdered this past Friday. I don’t know why over the past year we constantly hear of tragedy after tragedy.
In the Min Hamaitzar prayer of Hallel (Psalms 118) towards the end of the prayer we chant:
“לא אמות כי אחיה ואספר מעשי י–ה”
“I Shall not die. But I shall live and relate the deeds of God.”
What better way than to relate the deeds of God than by actually following in the ways of God. What better
reaction is there in the aftermath of these tragedies than to strengthen our commitment to God?
The strongest message we can send in the wake of evil is to perpetuate goodness. Goodness between man and
God and goodness between man and man.
I ask each and every one on of you to take a moment of your life and live it for Yoav. Yoav who was murdered at
the young age of 21. Yoav who was still studying. Yoav who never had the chance to get married. Or hold close his
children and grandchildren.
But I ask that you live that little moment the way Yoav would’ve wanted. The Yoav that in the market in Tunis
reminded me to Daven Mincha in full sight of all the locals. The Yoav that helped make Minyan in his tiny community of
La Goulette. The Yoav that loved Israel and was willing to stand up on behalf of his fellow Jews.
Let’s all live a Yoav moment and together relate the deeds of Hashem!
I fervently Daven (pray) that all us of only hear of happiness and the coming of Moshiach speedily in our days.