By Gavriel Haviv, 9th Grade
On November 18, a vicious terror attack occurred. Two Palestinians yielding axes and guns walked into Kehilat Bnei Torah during the Shacharitminyan. The shul-goers were still wearing their tefillin.
In Rambam Mesivta, the students were informed of the events right before Shacharit started and had an assembly after breakfast. The roshmesivta, Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, first spoke about how the terrorists used guns and axes, and the number of fatalities and the wounded. He then expressed his thoughts on the events. “There is no difference to the terrorists between killing a non-religious Jew and an ultra-orthodox Jew, between a fallen soldier and a civilian. We are all the Jews and they don’t care what kind we are. We must be loving of any Jewish life. . . . We are dealing with an enemy that really hates us.” It is taught in the Gemara, “If you give mercy to a vicious person, then you are also guilty.” He went on to tell the talmidim that these Arabs promote anti-Semitism at the ages of two or three, and that if these events flipped and we went into a mosque and killed innocent people, the world would go crazy. He then said there are ways for us to respond: we daven and try to work things out, and if we have to resort to it, then go to war. The same way Yaakov dealt with Esav.
At the assembly, Rabbi Friedman listed the four rabbis who were brutally killed: Rabbi Kalman Zev Levine, zt’l, an American citizen who was loved and always upbeat; Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky, zt’l, also an American citizen who experienced tragedy when his 13-year-old daughter passed away in her sleep; Rabbi Avraham Goldberg, zt’l, a British citizen who was 68 years old and left behind a wife and six kids; and Rabbi Moshe Twersky, zt’l, an American citizen who was 60 years old, and a man whom Rabbi Friedman knew. There were also six people wounded in the attack.
After Rabbi Friedman, Principal Rabbi Yotav Eliach spoke. He started off noting how violent the Mideast region is, with hundreds of people killed each day, and that Israel probably stops around 20–50 attacks daily. He also said that the people who do carry out these attacks are technically Israeli citizens, which complicates matters. He then spoke to the students, directly telling them not to open the door for anyone anymore because you don’t know who’s behind it. “I feel safer in Israel than anywhere else in the world,” he said. He concluded by telling the boys to think about what they would be doing in the last few moments of their lives and that we should think about tefillin more when we daven. The assembly concluded with two perakim of Tehillim recited by Rabbi Avi Haar.