Over These I Cry….

“Over these I cry, my eye, my eye, runs with tears” (Eichah 1:16).
With heavy hearts and eyes that run with tears, we reflect on a day of terrible pain and indescribable tragedy, as Klal Yisrael mourns the loss of the kedoshim R’ Avraham Shmuel Goldberg HY”D, R’ Kalman Ze’ev Levine HY”D, R’ Aryeh Kupinsky HY”D, and R’ Moshe Twersky HY”D, as well as the loss of Master Sergeant Zidan Sif, one of the first police officers to respond to the attack, and who was fatally wounded in a gunfight with the cursed terrorists.

Yesterday evening, I was privileged and humbled to hear Uri Yifrach, the father of Eyal Yifrach HY”D, speak at the Young Israel of Woodmere.  He noted that in this week’s Parsha, Parshas Toldos, we learn that Yitzchak blessed Yaakov, when he intended to bless Eisav.  How could it be, Mr. Yifrach wondered, that blessings intended for Eisav went to Yaakov?  Even if Yaakov was wearing Eisav’s garments, Yitzchak would have had in mind to bless Eisav; how then, would this benefit Yaakov?

Mr. Yifrach answered that at the time of the blessings, surely Yitzchak Avinu knew which son stood before him, and he fully intended to bless Yaakov.  When Yitzchak declared, “The voice is the voice of Yaakov, and the hands are the hands of Eisav (Gen.27:22),” he was, in fact, blessing Yaakov Avinu.  How so?
The blessing was that our voice – the voice of Yaakov, the dweller in the tents of Torah – should be a voice of Torah, Tefillah, Ahavas Yisrael and Ahavas Eretz Yisrael.  But at the same time that we use our kol, our voice, to serve Hashem and fellow man, we should also be blessed with strength, like that of an Eisav, “and the hands are the hands of Eisav.”
This was a dual blessing.  It was a blessing that the voice of Torah should resonate from within our homes, our schools and our shuls, and it was a blessing that the children of Yaakov should find the strength and courage necessary to be a Jew.

Avraham Twersky, a son of R’ Moshe Twersky HY”D, recounted at his father’s levaya, how just this past Friday night his father had dozed off while learning.  “I came in silently so as not to wake you and you told me that I wasn’t helping you by being quiet,” said Avraham Twersky. “You said that I should have woken you up so that you could learn more.”

Our trade is that of one who dwells in the tents of Torah, וְיַעֲקֹב אִישׁ תָּם, יֹשֵׁב אֹהָלִים.  But we must always remember that our nation is also blessed with tremendous fortitude and courage, and as we hope for the long-awaited end of days, despite the pain of this long and bitter exile, Klal Yisrael will persevere and overcome.
May we know of no more sorrow, and may Hashem wipe away the tears from every face (Isaiah 25:8); may it be soon and in our days, amen v’amen.

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