Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Av 5763 - August 27, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
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 face.

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 sides.

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