By Chanita Teitz
To paraphrase a favorite Peter, Paul, and Mary song:
Where has all intelligence gone, long time passing
Where has all intelligence gone, long time ago
Where has all intelligence gone, the world is brain-dead, everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn, oh, when will they ever learn?
This came to mind last week when I read three super-idiotic remarks by Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Navi Pillay. By now I’m sure you all have heard that Hillary Clinton believes that missiles must be kept in homes, schools, hospitals, and UNWRA facilities because Gaza is so small. Nancy Pelosi believes that Hamas is a humanitarian organization because Qatar assured her it is. And UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay wants Israel to share the Iron Dome with the Palestinians.
President Obama, the UN, and others have come out harshly against Israel for the “massacre” of innocent Palestinian children. What they all omit is that these children are used as human shields, they should have been evacuated from the area of Gaza that Israel is bombing, and the hospital they were in was being used by Hamas to launch rockets at Israel.
Meanwhile all this is old news compared to what I have read today, erev Tishah B’Av. There were two terrorist attacks today in Yerushalayim, one involving an Arab who rammed a tractor into a bus on Rechov Shmuel Hanavi, killing a chassidishe father of six. The other was the shooting of an Israeli soldier in the tunnel leading to Hebrew University.
There was also a break-in in a community north of Yerushalayim, which ended with the terrorists running away and heightened security after information of a major terror attack being planned for Tel Aviv. Roadblocks were set up and traffic was at a standstill on the Ayalon highway. There was also a security guard stabbed in Maale Adumim.
Although it’s hard sometimes to relate to events that happened 2,000 years ago, this Tishah B’Av it is not hard to mourn for the Beis HaMikdash, because in the past weeks we have seen more than enough to relate to the destruction that took place long before our time.
We have witnessed the kidnapping of our boys, their murders, and then the constant barrage of missiles, leading to Operation Protective Edge. We witnessed Israelis running for shelter many times a day, reports of soldiers being wounded, and over 60 soldiers dying. We have witnessed rising anti-Semitism around the world; we have seen the marches and the shouts to kill Jews. We realize that this isn’t just an Israeli problem. It is a Jewish problem that menaces our very existence.
All of this has brought us together as one: a people, a nation with a shared destiny. The achdus that we have witnessed is the exact opposite of the sinas chinam that destroyed the second Beis HaMikdash.
Just weeks before the boys were kidnapped, Israelis were fighting about the drafting of yeshiva boys into the army. For and against, this was driving a wedge through the Jewish nation. And suddenly, tragedy brought everyone together. The feeling of achdus continued after the boys were buried, to the war that erupted in Gaza that has resulted in over 3,000 missiles launched at Israel. Suddenly the army and the soldiers have become our best friends. Everyone has been davening for our soldiers and praying for the success of the army. The gratitude of the people was seen in the outpouring of chizuk, food packages, and visits to the injured soldiers in the hospitals.
We feel a new connection to one another, and although the war seems to have stopped, we know the danger remains. We must stay united.
I am printing an e-mail I received from Gila Rollhaus for my readers to respond in support of needed funds for Mishmeret Yesha, a grassroots organization that provides critical assistance to the residents of Yehuda and Shomron.
Project 1. Shemittah is around the corner. By August 11, all new saplings need to be planted and larger trees need to be planted by erev Rosh Hashanah. Due to Operation Protective Edge, much planting had to be put on hold. In a yishuv called Malei Rachavam there is an enormous need for a grove of large trees. The yishuv is in the Judean Desert. Temperatures reach over 100°F throughout the summer and can even reach 120°. The yishuv currently has no trees and therefore residents have no respite from the heat. The project to plant these trees is going forward, because time is running out. However, we need your help to fund this project.
Project 2. Providing armored vests for reservists has been a vital task of Mishmeret Yesha. Reservists do not always receive optimal equipment on the field, and MY produces vests of superior quality. The MY vests are specially designed to carry all essential gear, while also being plated with both Kevlar and polyethylene plates, making them extremely effective, lightweight, and comfortable. These vests are then loaned out to reservists indefinitely so that when they are called to serve, each soldier is already prepared with his or her own armored vest. These specialized vests are costly to produce, but they save countless lives.
Please give as generously as you can to help fund these vital projects. You may earmark your donation for whichever project you prefer. Checks of $250 or more should be made out to Central Fund of Israel. Checks of less than $250 should be made out to Mishmeret Yesha. Mail all checks to Gila Rollhaus, 147-24 75th Ave., Flushing, NY 11367.
Thank you in advance for supporting Israel. Israel belongs to all of Klal Yisrael and all of Klal Yisrael is responsible for Israel.
Chazaq’s erev Rosh Chodesh community gathering. On Sunday evening, July 27, the Queens community gathered at Congregation Toras Emes in Kew Gardens Hills for the first erev Rosh Chodesh unity event sponsored by the renowned Chazaq organization along with Chickens for Shabbos and the QJCC. Rabbi Daniel Glatstein of Congregation Toras Emes led the audience in three perakim of Tehillim.
Mickey Zivan, roommate and friend of Eyal Yifrach, Hy’d, spoke with emotion about Eyal. He told in detail what happened over the three weeks in Israel when Eyal and the other boys, Naftali Frenkel, Hy’d, and Gilad Sha’ar, Hy’d, were missing. Mr. Zivan began by explaining the nature of his yeshiva in the heart of Chevron, Yeshiva Shavei Hevron, where young men learn three or four years in yeshiva and then go on to become part of elite units in the army. They take it upon themselves to put themselves in harm’s way to protect Eretz Yisrael. Mickey explained that Eyal started learning in Bnei David Eli, a top yeshiva for boys who want to advance high in the army and be religious Zionists. It is known as the number one spot for that. Eyal, at the age of 18, after five months at Eli, decided he wanted more learning. He was the type of person who was always looking for something more. He was looking to grow as a person. He left a place where he was comfortable to go to Yeshiva Shavei Hevron where he would have to struggle. An anecdote that Mickey shared spoke volumes about Eyal. A yeshiva bachur named Ephraim had been killed a few months earlier in a car accident. Eyal took it upon himself to sit in the seat where Ephraim sat in order to continue learning for him.
Mickey then traced the story of how he discovered that Naftali and Gilad were missing and then he found out that Eyal was missing, too. At first he just assumed everything would be all right. Eyal would take care of the two young boys, Gilad and Naftali. Then when he saw that everyone was reciting Tehillim, he realized it was serious. At one point they received a text that the three boys were safe; everyone was so excited, but then they quickly learned it was not true. That Shabbos, after they first were missing, the yeshiva boys stayed up all night learning. The yeshiva set up continuous Torah learning—there was never a break as they learned for a zechus for the boys’ safety. The boys in the yeshiva called all the yeshivas to bring every Jew in Israel to the Kotel to daven. During those three weeks of davening and hoping, Mickey recounts how he traveled to visit Eyal’s parents. He described this visit as the most defining moment in his life. Eyal’s mother had just returned from a trip to the United Nations where she had pleaded for help. She told Mickey she was met with closed doors. Eyal’s father told Mickey that he spoke with Shimon Peres who said, “I’ve been in politics for a long time and I’ve never seen the nation together like this. It’s the parents who are doing it—the three mothers.”
Eyal’s mother related that, “In times like this you can scream, ‘lama, lama—why, why?’ This lama must become le’ma—for what? For what was my child chosen? There is something that G-d wants to happen and I was given the responsibility to do this.” She recounted all the chesed, Tehillim, and achdus in Israel and all over the world on behalf of the three boys. She said, “There’s nothing left to do besides to rebuild the Beis HaMikdash.”
Mickey at this point said to himself that if she believes in this, then he could, too. He gestured towards the crowd. “We are here for achdus. Tonight is showing that weeks afterwards, months afterwards, Am Yisrael is more together even than in the time when the boys were captured.” He related how there are hundreds of bottles of drinks and many pizzas donated at the hospital where the wounded Israeli soldiers are being treated. Achdus and ruach in the nation is now so clear and this is exactly who Eyal was. When Mickey asked Eyal’s mother what he should tell people in America, she responded, “Tell them Eyal loved everybody. His heart went out to everyone.”
Mickey concluded, “So it is our job to continue the “what, le’ma.” Just as Eyal lived to take his learning to the next level, let’s take this achdus up to the next level.”
The crowd was visibly moved by this stirring speech that flowed straight from the heart.
A passionate dvar Torah was given by Rabbi Mordechai Becher, senior lecturer for the Gateways Organization and Yeshivat Ohr Samayach. He also gave divrei chizuk and told meaningful stories. He shared a quote from Mark Twain that summed up the media coverage of the conflict in Israel. “If you don’t read the paper, you are not informed. If you read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” Rabbi Becher pointed out that the actual statistical analysis of those who have been killed in Gaza is, in reality, mostly men between the ages of 18 and 28—soldiers. Words like “cycle of violence” deny reality. These terrorists in Gaza are the epitome of evil who aim to kill as many Jews and Christians as they can. He then spoke about the common goal of the Presbyterians and the terrorists, who have enforced sanctions against Israel. Rabbi Becher explained that to Muslims and Presbyterians, we pose a spiritual, existential threat. Our existence, our attachment to Torah and Israel and our attachment to each other, contradicts everything they believe. So what can we do in America? Rabbi Becher offered that though tefillah and achdus come first, we should buy Israeli products to support the economy as well as contact congressmen to put pressure on them to support Israel and, in addition, make donations.
Rabbi Becher shared something his daughter witnessed at the Kotel recently. There was an Ethiopian woman standing there crying and saying Tehillim. One of the ladies near her asked what she was davening for. The woman replied her son was in Gaza. She asked for his name and then the lady informed all the other women davening at the Kotel, and they all davened for this woman’s son together.
Young Israel of Queens Valley Shabbos shiurim for men and women By Rabbi Aaron Pessin. August 9: Dogs in halachah, August 16: Doctor/patient relationships in halachah, August 23: Can we benefit from miracles? All shiurim are 4:30-5:30 p.m. Sponsorships are available. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-263-3921.
Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills Shabbos summer afternoon lecture series for men and women. Coordinated by the Women’s League and Adult Education Committee. August 9, 5:45 p.m., Dr. David Hurwitz will speak on the halachic imperative to immunize your children and grandchildren.
Chazaq presents Ari Goldwag Live! An evening of inspiration and song on Sunday night, August 10, 8:00 p.m. Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills 7011 150th St. in Flushing. Free entrance (suggested donation $10). For more information, call 718-285-9132 or e-mail email@example.com.
YCQ Parlor Meeting. Wednesday, August 13, 8:00 p.m. in the YCQ library. For prospective parents who would like to find out more about what makes the yeshiva so special! YCQ is located at 147-37 70th Road in Flushing. For any questions or to RSVP, please contact Rabbi Landsman at MLandsman@ycq.us. ϖ
Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.