Working on Kiddush Hashem
A male reporter with a ponytail visited the Schwartz family
early in the shiva. He wanted details about Mrs. Leba
Schwartz Hy'd, the mother of the house, who had been
among the innocents murdered in the ghastly attack just a few
days earlier on Shmuel Hanovi street.
The reporter was a professional and he soon had written down
the main facts of the murdered woman. But then the family
suddenly noticed very unprofessional tears running down his
Although he was there to gather information, he could not
hold himself back from expressing his own feelings. He told
them that he had been a reporter for three years, beginning
just before the current wave of Palestinian violence. In the
course of his career, he had been to many homes soon after
their loved ones had been murdered. The Schwartz home was the
seventh such home he had visited that very day. He was
overwhelmed by the reaction of the chareidi families to their
loss, how quiet and introspective they were, how accepting of
Heaven's difficult decree, how mature and strong the reaction
was, with so little of the futile rage and bewilderment that
is the usual atmosphere of homes bereaved by Arab thugs.
Mrs. Schwartz's brother also described a similar reaction in
the hours after the tragedy. Because of the condition of many
of the bodies, it took a long time to conclusively identify
them. Many concerned family members spent hours and hours at
the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute, waiting for the final
determination. The doctors there also told him how impressed
they were with the chareidi families. Usually bereaved
relatives feel like tearing up the place. The chareidi
families, though clearly in anguish, were quiet and
restrained and just concerned with the issues at hand.
Even a columnist for Ha'aretz, who was careful to say
several times things like, "hatred of the Haredim has become
a central value" of secular society in Israel, nonetheless
avowed, "there was something impressive and admirable in the
way that the ultra-Orthodox community reacted to the shocking
terrorist attack that landed on it."
This was an attack that cut to the heart of the chareidi
community in Eretz Yisroel. But the response of the community
makes it clear that the Torah way of life is not just a few
simpleminded beliefs but rather a comprehensive approach to
life that is thoroughly different from what the secular world
knows nowadays. The rationality and maturity our community
displayed, and the deep emunah that is evidently
behind the tzidduk hadin and introspection that were
so prevalent, were the causes of a massive kiddush
Hashem that one observer suggested may be the most
positive legacy of the whole terrible affair.
We certainly feel it as a blow to the entire community, so
perhaps an appropriate response, especially in these early
days of Elul, is to strengthen these specific insights in
ourselves and to apply them in our own responses to the
events of our lives: that everything that happens is from
Hashem and that Hashem always acts for our best.
In last week's parsha all the commentators bring out
the idea on the posuk: Bonim atem leHashem Elokeichem
(Devorim 14:1), that Hashem's concern for us is like a
father who ensures the best for his children, and even if
they do not always understand their father's actions, they
fully rely on His judgment.
These heroic families are standing before the world and
showing how the people of the Torah are special, an am
seguloh. Let us do what we can to stand at their
All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.