To give chizuk to the communities of the Five Towns and others devastated by Hurricane Sandy, Rabbi Asher Weiss, renowned av beis din, posek for Shaarei Tzedek Hospital, and rosh kollel of Minchas Asher in Israel, made a special trip to the New York area. The entire student body of the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls was privileged to hear him speak at the school on Monday, November 19. Although Rabbi Weiss’ original intention was to bring words of strength to our community about the storm, his words encompassed what is going on in Eretz Yisrael at the same time.
“Nothing that happens in the world is a coincidence,” Rabbi Weiss said. “How do we respond to calamity? Hashem is calling out to us to be close to Him.”
Noting the auditorium filled with red-wearing students demonstrating their stand with Israel’s “red alert,” Rabbi Weiss praised the girls’ solidarity with Israel. “Kol Yisrael areivim zeh lazeh,” he said. “This is exactly what Rabbi Yaakov Emden meant in the introduction to this siddur, written 250 years ago. What is the biggest miracle of the Jewish people? That we are still here. After all we have gone through, and remember this was written before the Holocaust, the Jewish people are still here. The reason is because we are one entity, one neshamah in many bodies.”
“It was so nice for me to hear Rabbi Weiss’ words,” one girl said. “We are always so involved with what is going on in Israel; it was remarkable for me to hear that Israelis care about us as well.” Another insight was shared by a faculty member. “His words really touched my soul. As a people, we are able to help Klal Yisrael when we get close to Hashem.”
Exhorting the audience to accept “one more mitzvah” than the day before in the zechus of Hashem’s mercy, Rabbi Weiss blessed the students and faculty to know days of peace and nachas.