02 Jun 2016 The Time for the Blessings Has Come…
In this week’s parsha, Parshas Bechukosai, we read of the terrible klalos, curses and punishments, that will befall our nation, may G-d save us, if we do not go in His ways, if we throw off the yoke and covenant of Torah and mitzvos.
There is a custom to read the frightening and prophetic verses of the curses quietly and quickly… We don’t want to hear of them and we want to get through them as quickly as possible…
1952, Brooklyn NY. The Beis Knesses of the Sanz-Klausenberger Rebbe.
The Beis Medrash was a sea of black and white, swaying figures, almost all newly immigrant Holocaust survivors. The Rebbe himself was among the last to leave Europe. The Rebbe had lost his entire family – his wife and eleven children – and most of his pre-war Chasidim, in the flames of the European inferno, HY”D.
The ba’al koreh began to chant the weekly Torah portion. When he came to the section known as the tochacha – the curses that are to befall the nation should it deviate from Gd’s ways – the reader began to read in a whisper and very quickly, in accordance with time-honored custom of how to lain this section.
Suddenly, a sound came from the Klausenberger Rebbe, who stood at the lectern facing the eastern wall and the aron kodesh. He said only one word: hecher, louder!
The ba’al koreh immediately stopped reading, and seemed to hesitate for a few moments, almost as if he was debating with himself: did the Rebbe actually say “louder”? Would the Rebbe go against the long-standing custom of Israel, which was to read the curses quietly and rapidly? The reader decided he had been mistaken in what he thought the Rebbe had said, and continuing reading in a whisper.
The Rebbe turned around to face the congregation, banged on the lectern, his eyes blazing: “Ich hob gezogt hecher – I said louder,” he shouted out. “Let the Master of the Universe hear! We have nothing to be afraid of. We have already received all of the curses – and more! Let the Almighty hear, and let Him understand that the time has come to send the blessings!”
Many in the kehila were silently sobbing. The Rebbe turned back to his lectern, facing the wall. The Torah reader continued to chant the curses loudly and distinctively and at a much slower pace.
And it wasn’t very long after that Shabos that the Rebbe led his flock to settle in Netanya, where they founded Kiryat Sanz…
As we usher in another Yom Yerushalayim – הר הבית בידינו, הר הבית בידינו! Har Ha’Bayit (the Temple Mt.) is in our hands! Har Ha’bayit is in our hands! – let us recall that we have not yet merited to see the final redemption, with the fulfillment of peace in our land. For our land, our holy city and our courageous people have lost too many – for if one falls it is too many! – in defense of Yerushalayim and Tzion.
To paraphrase the righteous tzadik, the Klausenberger Rebbe: Let the Ribbono Shel Olam (Almighty G-d) hear! We have nothing to be afraid of! We have received too many painful blows! The time for complete and everlasting blessings, in peace and prosperity, in joy and hope, has come!
Chaya Zissel Braun HY”D, who took her first, and last trip, to the Kotel when she was all of three months old; Shalom Yohai Sherki, 25 HY”D, who was waiting for a bus with his date, when he was run over in J’lem; Aharon Banita, 22 HY”D, on his way through the Old City to the Kotel, with his wife and two small children, on Chol Ha’Moed Sukkot, when he was stabbed to death; Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky, 60 HY”D, murdered in a car ramming in Geula; Richard Lakin, 76 HY”D, a former US school principal, murdered in a bus rampage attack in the Armon Ha’Natziv section of Jerusalem;
Rabbis Moshe Twersky, Kalman Levine, Aryeh Kupinsky and Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Master Sergeant Zidan Saif, Howard (Chaim) Rotman, Ofer Ben-Ari, Rabbi Reuven Biermacher, Ziv Mizrachi, Hadar Buchris… HY”D.
In her book, “Miriam’s Song,” Miriam Peretz writes of the moment that she found out her son, Uriel HY”D, was killed in battle: “The midnight news broadcast announced the Hezbollah had fired on IDF positions. At that very moment, I knew that Uriel (1976-1998) had been killed.
“They still hadn’t said anything about soldiers being injured…but I knew. I lay in bed and waited for the announcement. I lay there and waited.
“A minute passed, a quarter of an hour, another half hour, another hour.
“A 2:30am I heard knocking. I was upstairs on the second floor. I opened the window and saw three soldiers. 2:30am. Stillness and silence, the whole town was asleep and the soldiers hadn’t said anything yet. I looked out over the mute houses on the street… (and) I cried from the open window, ‘Urieeel!’
“From the upstairs window I shouted down to the messengers, ‘I know, Uriel’s been killed!’ There were silent. I ran down the corridor, between the (bed)rooms, ‘Get up, get up! Uriel!’
The holy and righteous Klausenberger Rebbe turned around to face the congregation, banged on the lectern, his eyes blazing: “Ich hob gezogt hecher – I said louder,” he shouted out. “Let the Master of the Universe hear! We have nothing to be afraid of. We have already received all of the curses – and more! Let the Almighty hear, and let Him understand that the time has come to send the blessings!”
,בברכת בשורות טובות, חודש טוב, ושבת שלום