March 6, 2008, Jerusalem, eight boys are killed in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem’s Merkaz HaRav Yeshivah.April 11, 1956, Kfar Chabad, Israel - five youngsters and their teacher are murdered by terrorists.
Shock, pain, and grief overwhelm us. How can we respond to such tragic and heinous loss of life? Is there any response?In 1956, Kfar Chabad grappled with just these questions. The answer of their Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, was clear: “Don’t abandon your post. In the spot where this tragedy occurred, the quality of Divine Mercy will be revealed.”
During the week of ‘shiva’ for the slain youngsters, the Rebbe called for a public fast day in all Chabad schools throughout the land of Israel, and sent the following words of encouragement to the residents of Kfar Chabad:
“It is my fervent hope that, with the help of G-d, Who guards with a watchful eye and supervises with individual providence, that you will overcome all obstacles, strengthen yourselves in your individual and communal building efforts, and expand all the institutions both in quantity and quality. From a position of tranquility of mind and heart and joy and gladness of heart, the study of Torah—the living word of G-d which is our protection—and the observance of mitzvot will be strengthened and exalted. Kfar Chabad should become the wellspring from which streams of chassidut and the teachings of our holy Rebbes flow outward, bringing all our Jewish brothers and sisters close to their Father in Heaven, with kindness and mercy. Through this [you shall] bring the ultimate redemption through our righteous Mashiach very soon.
I am participating with you in your prayer and fasting, and I trust in G-d that, very soon, I will participate in your true and complete joy, physical and spiritual joy.”
(Igrot Kodesh, volume 13, introduction)
Pharaoh, Antiochus, the Crusaders, Chmielnicki, the Nazis, terrorists. As a nation, we've outlived all our oppressors. "Not by military force, nor by physical power, by My Spirit," says the L-rd of Hosts" (Zecharaiah 4:6). Our weapons are positive ones, active ones: building, conducting ourselves with love for our fellow, fulfilling another mitvah with devotion.
Our hearts cry in pain with the families of those who were killed. From Kfar Chabad we remember Nissim Essiss, Moshe Peretz, Shlomo Mizrachi, Albert Edri, Amos Ozen and their teacher, Simcha Zilberstrom. From Merkaz Harav we remember Neria Cohen, Segev Pniel Avihail, Avraham David Moses, Yehonatan Yitzchak Eldar, Roi Roth, Yochai Lipshitz, Yonadav Chaim Hirschfeld, and Doron Mahareta.
To the Sandler and Monsonego families, we send our heartfelt prayers that the Omnipresent should comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.
Please pray for Aharon ben Leah, a 15 year old who was injured in today’s attack.