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Mass Shootings, Terror in Israel, the 9th of Av, Then, Now & The Future

Friday, 9 August, 2019 - 5:51 pm

ELPASO.jpgThe week started off with dreadful news of two mass shootings and America was once again shaken to the core. Dozens of people were killed by two crazed hate filled individuals, in two different incidents. The nation was jolted once again as it faced the horror of more mass killings and the shocking sight of hundreds of loved ones mourning their family members who they had been with just moments before.

The clamor of condemnations from across the spectrum quickly followed as the country continues to fret about how to combat the scourge of these terrible attacks. Obviously a healthy approach will look at how we can preempt and prevent these attacks, by looking at a whole range of issues, including trying to prevent senseless hatred and this psychotic form of aggression, through a more holistic approach to the moral and behavioral well being of our society, and especially to those who might sometimes seem to fall through the cracks. This of course is in addition to other more tangible preventative measures which must be taken to prevent these atrocities.

Murder in Gush Etzion

Dvir.jpgThen yesterday, another murder shook me to the core as a young 18 year old Yeshiva Student, Dvir Sorek, a young recruit to the Israeli army, who loved nature and poetry, was captured and murdered as he walked to his village in Gush Etzion, just days before his 19th birthday.  Dvir was just one month old when his own grandfather was shot dead in a terror attack, while hiking with a group of youth almost 19 years ago, an attack I clearly remember.

Yet this time there was silence........

There wasn't silence from Israel.... but silence from the society that the murderers came from...

No condemnation..... just silence.... and then ..... hundreds of celebratory fireworks set off in to the air by the neighboring Palestinian town of Silwad, as thousands of mourners tearfully buried the young victim in  the Jewish town next door, Dvir's hometown of Ofra.

A young innocent boy who was not yet a man, who had gone to buy books for his teachers to give as presents, was killed for being a Jew.

Both the attacks in the US and this attack in Israel are evil, but at least here, there is no support for the atrocities from 99.99% of society, which unfortunately cannot be said for what happened to Dvir.

The Best Revenge

On a very different note, on Wednesday, I saw a stunning piece of positive news, as Shoshana Ovitz,  a woman who survived Auschwitz after watching her mother taken from her by Dr Mengele to be killed, celebrated turning 104 years old.

Shoshana Survivor 2.jpgShoshana survived the war and then met Dov, who had also been ravaged by the Holocaust as he lost his wife and four children. Shoshana and Dov married and made Aliya to Haifa where she worked as a seamstress and helped her husband ran a small Meat Store.

For her 104th birthday, she asked that all of her 400 descendants gather with her to celebrate at the Western Wall.

It was truly an inspiring picture and the best revenge against Hitler and a testimony that Am Yisrael Chai!

The 9th & Av and where are we Headed?

The tension and dynamics of these various events, bring to mind the current timeframe we find ourselves in, the period of time that is known as the 9 Days of Mourning for the Temples that were destroyed in Jerusalem thousands of years ago. Our sages have always pointed out that it was the unbridled hatred that was rampant among people that caused the collapse of the Jewish nation at the time as well as the destruction of the Holy Temple. 

Traditionally along with remembering the tragedy that took place during these days, we also focus on the root cause of the physical destruction, namely the unbridled hate, and we focus on countering that with a deeper appreciation for our fellow and a love that is unbridled. 

Yet as we mourn the destruction of the temples and the loss of life in ancient and modern times, we remember and focus on the vision we have for the future. It is a vision that we reflect on this Shabbos, which is known as the Shabbos Chazon, the Shabbat of Vision, as we contemplate our goal of making this world be what it should for all of mankind, when nation shall not lift a sword against another, when there will be no more hatred and evil, and when we will all work together to make G-d's world into the beautiful place it can be in every way possible.

Good Shabbos & Shabbat Shalom



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