Newsletter

THE DAY OF HEALING

Roy Neuberger - May. 17, 2019


As I write, hundreds of rockets have been falling on Israel. Our own grandchildren returned after Shabbos to their home near Ashkelon to the sound of air-raid sirens.

 

This follows the shooting in a California Shul.

 

Sefira (Sefiras Ha Omer, the period between Passover and Shavuos) is a very serious time of the year.

 

“Rabbi Akiva had twelve thousand pairs of students – from Gevat to Antipatros – and all of them died in one period because they did not treat each other respectfully. We learned in a Braisa: they all died between Pesach and Shavuos.” (Yevamos 62a)

 

“This tragedy was repeated on a large scale in Germany during the Omer period of the year 4856 (1096). As the First Crusade set off, entire communities were destroyed, adults and children were massacred and scholars were burned at the stake. These tragedies were repeated …on an even larger scale in the years 5408-5409 (1648-9) during the riots fomented in Poland by Bogdan Chmielnicki, may his name and memory be erased.” (Book of Our Heritage)

 

Last week, I mentioned a remarkable comment from Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, which I would like to amplify. “The availus of the Three Weeks … is mourning the Churban Habayis, but losing twenty-four thousand of Rabbi Akiva’s talmidim is an even greater catastrophe … even though it is not mentioned in the Mishna or Gemora.”

 

This catastrophe, according to Rabbi Heinemann, “affects us to this very day…. [Rabbi Akiva’s talmidim were] all Tannaim. If they would have remained alive, the … next generation would have been filled with twenty-four thousand roshei yeshiva instead of the five who emerged as Rabbi Akiva’s eventual talmidim. It could be that there would never have been reform or conservative movements because Klal Yisroel would have been filled with talmidei chachamim. The biggest availus (mourning) is the Torah lost to Klal Yisroel from this generation.”

 

What caused this catastrophe? “There was a subtle lack of kovod (honor and respect) for one another which was enough for Hashem to require beginning anew the mission of giving the Torah to the next generation with absolute purity. This is similar to an angle which slants at an eighth of a degree, which is hardly [noticeable]. However, after a foot, these lines develop visible differences.” (Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, Halachos of Sefiras Haomer and Shavuos)

 

My friends, our spiritual and physical existence depends upon extreme care in the personal honor we extend to one another. Subtle interactions can affect our personal and national redemption. I would like to suggest a few examples:

 

  • * When you enter a shul for the first time, do you first inquire whether your seat is someone's regular place to sit?
  • * Are you careful not to disturb your neighbor's prayer? Maybe you are too loud.
  • * Do you greet another Jew with “Shalom Aleichem” and a smile?

 

We have entered the Month of Iyar. The letters of its name are the first letters of the following sentence in the Torah: “Ani Hashem Rofecha … I am Hashem your healer.” (Exodus 15:26) This is a month of attack and also a month of healing. The seeds of both redemption and tragedy are here. The Days of Sefira combine unparalleled national tragedy with spiritual elevation. We are approaching L’ag B’Omer, the day of healing.

 

May we arrive at Hashem’s doorstep “k’ish echad b’lev echad… as one man with one heart” and merit that the Shechina – the Presence of G-ddwells with us eternally!


 

Recent Posts


Tags

Divine presence Rachel Midrash bible Golden Calf Prophecy shmittah synagogue Raiders of the Lost Ark David Rabbi Akiva spies Matriarchs Tu b'Shvat Yaakov Purim rain Esau incense Ishmeal Teshuva Banias Boaz Torah portion meraglim menorah leprosy Hagar Torah scholars Tisha b'Av Ishamael water creation Samuel Galil Ruth terror Ashkenazi Earth yarmulke Jacob yeshiva Ten Commandments chaos Abrahem Father in Heaven Baku moon Tu b'Av stones darkness prayers Greeks Holiness three weeks cholent deluge evolution liberation Psalm culture Western Wall Sukkah self-worship ancestors God Aharon siddur Amalek Judah pain Chol haMoed logic Elul prophet Moshe King David Red Sea Dead Sea media Achashveirosh Jeremiah Land of Israel automobiles Creator matzos fear bris milah Torah Holy Ark heavenly gates Zion, Angel Second Temple redemption Garden of Eden mikveh Noah terrorist King Solomon salvation Final redemption song compassion lights stars Judaism blessing violence Hashem Exodus Egypt Sarah repentance Mount Hermon bird Shushan Miriam tremors terrorism Laban Canaan Ammon prayer book Isaiah Golan Joseph Leah Benjamin locusts Nation of Israel New Moon Eglon holiday redeemer Gog exile Hasmoneans slavery Mordechai Tzuk etan materialism shield of Abraham miracle Day of Judgement Genesis Day of Atonement Sea of Galilee miracles mikveh, Sabbath prayer gossip kosher persecution Lot Amram Abraham Rosh Hashanah Rabbis Children of Israel Mount Sinai Solomon Sefiras haOmer slaves Rosh Hashana Esther light kinneret tears Isaac G-d survival Holy Temple Ishmael eternity rabbi Miraglim evil Solar eclipse terrorists spiritual Ezekiel heaven war High Priest Blame Sages Geula Rebbe Sodom tablets United Nations repent Judgement Day Psalms Sephardi Moshiach esrog world to come resurrection Shabbos Israel Chanukkah Red Heifer eternal enemies Passover Sabbath Bilaam messiah Repentence murder king plague Passover Seder Master of the Universe seder Holocaust Shavuos spirituality Talmud patriarchs mitzva prophets kiddush Jews Western World keys Zechariah Jewish festival Yerushalayim Jerusalem missiles fragrance trees End of Days rosh chodesh Pinchas holy alone Maccabeans Chofetz Chaim angel Zohar brotherhood patriarchs'matriarchs purity death tabernacle King of the Universe Haman cries Mount Zion fault Matisyahu Tallis minyan ethics Magog angels paradise Moshaich evil inclination Moses Tefillin sacrifices judgement Balak Pharaoh Malbim America earthquake Angel of Death Hebrew prophet Samuel Terror Attack in Jerusalem 2020 Vision Golus idolatry idol commandment Temple shofar Jewish holidays Song of Songs Edom Zion Rashi Babylon danger Jew Holy land Yom Kippur Maimonides night Jewish People Beit Hamikdash Moab mitzvos Jewish Avraham soul Chanukah Samuel the Prophet High Holy Days Shechina Europe sun Rebecca Parsha sin peace flood Faith forefathers Sukkos Macabees Lunar eclipse pray kesuba biblical hubris Babylonia chessed Adam Chafetz Chaim sanctity Temple Mount secret India Rome Protective edge priests Heavenly Mercy Bais Hamikdosh dreams fires heavenly throne Eve barley

Archive