Please continue saying Tehillim for the complete refuah of Yehosef ben Perel, Meir Yehosef ben Vittel, Shloime ben Vittel and Naftali Tzvi ben Gila.(Source)
And these are just the latest.
Often, these are followed by calls to make aliyah.
As a Jew who lives in Eretz Yisrael, I obviously think living in Eretz Yisrael is a great idea.
Also, I've grown to both like & admire many of this blog's chutznik readers who've left comments and sent emails, and I would love to have such special, sincere Jews as neighbors in my building or street, so there is a "selfish" reason for my wanting you to make aliyah.
Certainly, the valiant Chassidim who strove to protect their fellow Jews from the machete-wielding attacker by throwing a coat rack, a table, and rocks on him while getting the others out to safety – not to mention, the quick-witted father who locked the doors to the shul just in time while calling for fellow congregants to lock the other entrances too – these are very precious frum individuals whom I would like to have in my community.
And it's particularly odd & disturbing that the first part of the incident occurred in the Rebbe's living room (i.e., not a publicly accessible place) – and on Chanukah.
And yes, there is the famous saying (I think attributed to Rabbi Noach Weinberg z"l) that goes something like: "When they start killing Jews in the street, it's time to leave."
The thing that many of us pro-aliyah people forget is that Jews have been killed in the streets of Eretz Yisrael too, rachmana litzlan.
Hashem is the Only Real "Safe Space"
At one point, Jews could escape pogroms, institutional persecution and discrimination, and later, the Shoah, by fleeing to North America.
South America and Great Britain also proved to be places that Jews could live in relative freedom and thrive.
But the world is shrinking in that regard. Even places reputed to host genial & open-minded non-Jews (like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark) are facing serious problems with Jew-hatred.
Even Antarctica isn't an option, due to it being populated by secular liberals from around the world. (Secular liberals aren't exactly into Jewish values or protecting Torah-observant Jews.)
And yes, I have always felt "safe" in Eretz Yisrael – safer than I ever did anywhere else in the world. Even when I feared to ride the buses during Rabin's bulldozering "Piece" Plan, I still felt relatively safe other than that.
If you read any sefer in authentic Torah Judaism or any discussion in Chazal of the proper response to Jew-hatred, it always has to do with our own service of Hashem, particularly avodat halev; Hashem wants our hearts.
Rav Avigdor Miller constantly spoke of this, that performing mitzvot with joy is our main salvation.
Sure, if you can move to a safer geographical location, then that's good hishtadlut (effort-making).
But since the Shoah, there has been an all-consuming focus on geographical location being the remedy for persecution and genocide.
This was Theodore Herzl's propaganda (among others) and it has permeated the frum community too, to an extent.
You can be a goy in Eretz Yisrael too. People have done it & still do it.
You can be a total rasha in Eretz Yisrael too. People have done it & still do it.
If you feel that Eretz Yisrael in the best place to live to increase you avodat Hashem and be a better Jew, that it's worth giving up a more comfortable gashimiut for a deeper ruchniut...then those are wonderful reasons to make aliyah.
If you feel that the Torah tells you to go to Eretz Yisrael, that you wish to follow the passages in Chazal that encourage making one's permanent home in Eretz Yisrael, then that's a wonderful reason.
Our biggest tzaddikim have done exactly that throughout the ages.
However...will you be physically safer here than anywhere else?
I'm not sure. Maybe. Maybe yes! A couple of the Gedolei Hador are reputed to have said exactly that.
But really, it all goes back to keeping Torah and mitzvot with your heart.
It goes back to separating yourself from non-Jewish culture, to stop admiring all sorts of aspects of the culture of your country.
This includes us in Eretz Yisrael, by the way.
How many Jews here have tried to adapt non-Jewish values to life in Eretz Yisrael?
How many Jews put their trust in politicians? (And who cares if they're "religious" or not? We aren't into politicians or getting too close to the government in general. Big mistake.)
But who cares what I say or think?
I'm not a big talmid chacham and never will be.
So here are the words of others on this topic:
- Anti-Semitism Through the Lens of the Torah
- Rav Avigdor Miller on Rising Anti-Semitism
- Rav Avigdor Miller on Joining the Fight Against Antisemitism
- Rav Avigdor Miller on Understanding the Holocaust
- Rav Avigdor Miller on Our Response to Antisemitism (Please scroll down to the last video.)
- Should We Daven About Antisemitism? (Rav Itamar Schwartz)
- To Live in Eretz Yisrael or Not? (Rav Itamar Schwartz)
- What is Galus America? (Rav Itamar Schwartz)
- Perspective toward the Netanyahu Government? (Includes question regarding Satmar hashkafah & the answer regarding the government is most interesting and one I've never heard before or since – also by Rav Itamar Schwartz)
Our Best Response to Increasing Acts of Jew-Hatred
And this includes me, needless to say, because we are all part of the same "body," so to speak. Meaning that me and the Jews stabbed in Monsey are all fingers on the same hand, so to speak.
So if someone gets whacked by a machete in Monsey, I in Eretz Yisrael need to ask myself what I can do to prevent this from happening again.
Well, here are the words of the Kaliver Rebbe ztz"l, who not only survived the Shoah with his emunah fully intact, but also survived Mengeles's sadistic "experiments":
- Solid emunah in Hashem (really knowing that Hashem is running EVERYTHING)
- Loving our fellow Jews
- Serving Hashem with joy
- Keeping Shabbat scrupulously
- Saying "Shema Yisrael"
By embracing the above, the Kaliver Rebbe assures us we do not need to fear wars.
(See here: The Kaliver Rebbe: "Each day is its own Yom Hashoah.")
Note especially his final quote:
"When we say Shema Yisrael, and we are unified there is no need to worry about another Holocaust."
And please see his original dvar Torah here:
Finally, some wonderful advice from Shiffy Friedman's H.E.A.R.T. Initiative arrived in my Inbox recently.
The entire article is about how to bring one's heart into the picture, and not go through life as a glazed-eyed observer.
First of all, she takes on the kind of self-criticism that often passes for self-accounting (boldface & underline mine):
Too often, when we delve into our inner world, we end up with yet another layer of self-criticism.
“Oh,” we tell ourselves, “You’re just trying to cop out of life. I know why you’re eating/buying/doing this now/why you just wasted two hours on the computer/phone/why you made this massive Chanukah bash. It’s because you want to numb your emotions/you don’t want to face what you’re really feeling.”
In this way, we’re actually turning our self-exploration against us.
While self-exploration can be painful—it often involves looking inside the crevices our heart we’ve been turning a blind eye to for too long, if it only makes us more resentful of ourselves or others, that’s a sign that it’s not only not helpful, but harmful.
Real teshuvah (as opposed to imitation teshuvah) actually makes us better people.
That's its whole point.
She recommends taking the time to contemplate what we've done right and to discover our inner light (which emanates from the pure neshamah).
I think what she's aiming for is getting in touch with the yetzer hatov, and not just focusing on the yetzer hara.
She says she'll be delving deeper into how exactly to do this next week.
This is the sign-up for her newsletter:
emotionalwellnessthroughTorah@gmail.com (Type "subscribe" in the subject line.)
(And just for knowing, I receive nothing for promoting that nor does she even know I'm promoting it. I just find it beneficial & wish to share it with others.)
The Avodah of the Heart
Even fulfilling the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisrael is not enough – we have seen how the actions of Erev Rav Jews and their victims within Eretz Yisrael actually lengthen the Exile and increase our suffering!
Wherever we are, it's avodat halev.
So to really save ourselves from the Jew-haters, we must:
- Strengthen our emunah in Hashem.
- Do whatever mitzvot we do with more heart, with real simcha.
- Separate ourselves from the nations – and this includes a mental separation from their values & behaviors and any other anti-Torah influences
May we all succeed together in bringing the Geula sweetly & speedily.