This article deals with a problem that has lately become a
burning issue: murder among Jews caused by their alienation
from Torah and emunah. Some sixty years ago HaRav
Mordechai Shmuel Kroll zt"l, the rav of Kfar
Chassidim, discussed this. The following was published at
that time in chareidi periodicals and reprinted last year by
the family of HaRav Kroll zt'l in Maso Damesek:
a compilation of droshos, articles, and thoughts about
Murders have frequently taken place in our
land: in Hertzliah, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. The first were
committed under cover of darkness while the last (if only it
would be the last) happened at midday in the celebrated city
[of Tel Aviv].
These murders shocked the public. Newspapers hastened to
denounce the heinous acts and cautioned against the
escalating depravity entrenching itself within the
What is happening is appalling! We are indeed no longer so
"spoiled" as to be stunned by acts of murder. Surely the day
will come when we find those who defend this occurrence,
those who tell us that since we are a "nation" we have the
"right" to have "our own murderers" and our own "thieves."
Among their disgraceful remarks they will also remember to
emphasize that, "We are still better than all other
That is some achievement! We are not lower than they. May the
advocates of, "Let us be like all other peoples" rejoice!
Their dream has fully materialized. Jews are like all other
nations: Just as they have murderers, we too have murderers.
What do we lack? Only a country and independence. Well, this
will also come, with the hope that the nation will be ready
Each one of us who daily thanks Hashem "for not making me a
gentile" and openly makes a brocho, "Who selected us
from all the peoples" have difficulties in accepting this
unsatisfactory reality of not being worse than all other
nations. Although they do not regard this as a shortcoming,
it is surely regarded so by us, and it pains us greatly to
have to cope with such matters. The last incident was worse
in all respects. The main difference is, apart from it being
committed publicly in broad daylight contrary to previous
murderers, the accused murderer is reported as being a quiet
boy. We are not dealing with a "professional murderer" but a
boy like all others. He wanted to steal and when he was
caught, he murdered. This is intended to teach us
Doubtless the newspapers will begin "educating" the populace
to spurn the mania of "luxuries" resulting from a desire for
an easy, carefree life which is the root of corruption that
has become naturalized in the settlement and the land.
Afterwards conferences and meetings condemning such acts [of
violence] will take place, but inevitably society will return
to its customary way of life, until . . . a new
"Thunder was only created to straighten the heart's
crookedness" (Brochos 59a) -- the heart's crookedness
can only be straightened through thunder. Although we should
neither relinquish nor find consolation for the loss of any
Jewish soul, if "thunder" could truly bring us the suitable
goal it would somewhat lighten our shock. However, the
problem is that the crookedness has not budged. The "thunder"
only quiets it or stills its nerves, but evil remains
entrenched, and every once in a while it reappears.
Besides the above mentioned killings, the newspapers report
suicides through poisoning and jumping from high buildings.
Is it possible to find something in common with all these
What is suicide? Is it not murder? It is recklessness and
permissiveness provoked by not recognizing life's objective.
If someone's own life is unimportant, why should he care
about another's? If he imagines his life's goal as owning a
"car" and without it life is utterly worthless, why should he
not obtain it illegally if he is unable to obtain it
If he is caught but can reach his goal by killing his brother
who will stop him? Is he afraid of the law? There is a limit
to the degree which a person is afraid of punishment. Since
his life is unimportant, his fear of dying will not stop him.
This happens time and again but we are helpless. We are
deteriorating, going from bad to worse.
What has changed? Why were such events unheard of among Jews
a generation ago? From where did all these suicides, murders,
and theft come? Before we became a modern people, when we
were still in golus, why did we not then commit
suicide nor murder, but realized life's value and made
maximum efforts to remain alive? What is the root of this
frivolity that has crept into our camp?
The shield guarding life was that our people were "believers,
and the sons of believers," who trusted in Divine Providence.
They had faith in a Ruler of the World who oversees each
detail and faith in Olam Haboh, the world of reward
and punishment. They believed life has a supreme objective
that man cannot fathom. They saw Hashem's hand in every
unfortunate circumstance and believed from birth that "From
Hashem no evil will emerge."
The simple emunah that "the grave will not be an
escape for you" (Ovos 4:22) and "If I ascend up into
heaven, You are there, if I make my bed in She'ol, behold,
You are there" (Tehillim 139:7) was an enormously
strong wall that guarded life's purity. We did not need
"committees" to protect the honor of Jewish women. Our family
life was an example to be imitated, something we prided
ourselves on. Beauty, pleasantness, might, and purity were
nested in Jewish homes.
But when we lost the simple emunah we lost all this.
Who uprooted from this generation the innocence inherited
from our fathers? Was it not the new education received? Was
it not the new beautiful-ugly literature?
Boys the age of that quiet murderer receive their entire
education from school. He was educated there like the tens of
thousands of students who are progressively alienating
themselves from their true source. Is it possible that the
"You shouldn't steal" learned from his teacher who denies
Torah and does not steal or murder only because of
humanitarian reasons, will be as powerful as the "You shall
not steal" written after "I am Hashem your Elokim" that we
learn from our Mentors?
We see the extent of the moral values of those who have built
the land. At Ein HaShofet, disregarding the mortal danger to
them, they chased away those with different outlooks in the
middle of the night. They uproot all kedusha, anything
spiritual, anything that elevates the soul. Their whole mind
and neshomo is utilized for material purposes.
Greed is all important to them. What is so surprising if such
incidents recur? Are you, the newspaper reporters, the entire
generation of writers, who cram your readers with nonsense
and dislodge the faith in the heart and profane all that is
sacred for us, so alarmed when you see the fruit of the trees
you have planted? "For out of the serpent's root shall come
forth a viper" (Yeshaya 14:29). Your education will
not build people like R' Chaim, the Chofetz Chaim, since they
are not esteemed by you and not mentioned in your
What do young boys and girls see? What do you use to enflame
their souls? You tell them about some Polish gentile and non-
Jewish individual. This is the youth's aspiration, and in
this way a generation that is not Jewish and not gentile is
growing up. It is a hybrid without a yesterday or tomorrow,
one that walks around proudly and whose desires are
unchecked. Should anyone be surprised at the results?
After reaching such a state of affairs do you not see that
synthetic rebuke will not help? It is impossible to explain
to young boys that theft and murder are not nice and just
impractical. As long as he does not have an internal
inclination to refrain from it, no reprimanding will help.
Articles will neither restrain nor scare them.
Return the Jewish neshomo to the youth! These victims
demand from you reporters, writers, and educators, at last to
have the might and courage to admit you have sinned to the
children's souls. Confess that you are unable to educate a
generation to be forthright. Do you want to destroy all of
beis Yisroel? Remove from yourselves the task of
educating the young. Hand over the education of children to
faithful hands who know how to handle it, to those who have
been in charge of this for almost two thousand years.
Their pupils proved themselves until you started stealing the
children -- the nation's hope -- from these faithful hands
and failed. Instead of geonim and tzaddikim,
morally superior people, people who deal honestly -- you have
raised mentally sick people, unrestrained masses,
materialistic individuals, who are ready to do anything
forbidden to gain money . . . and having a car is more
precious to them than a brother's life.
Have pity on the nation's nefesh! Do not continue to
devastate the good in our nation. Look at the products of
your education. Return what you have stolen and deliver them
to the Torah-true who are experienced in educating them. It
is not too late to correct what you have destroyed, and a new
generation will arise that will be a honor for Jews and the
Do this promptly, because every day counts.