Sunday, March 16, 2008

Zachor in Merkaz HaRav

I usually do not daven in Merkaz HaRav. However, I have for many years been accustomed to go there for the reading of parshat Zachor. The custom was that the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Avraham Shapira zt"l, would read "zachor et asher asa lecha Amalek...", remember what Amalek did to you. Rav Shapira would read the parasha in the traditional Ashkenazic pronunciation (Zochoir es asher oso lecho amoleik...). Afterwards the parasha was read a few more times from different students, each one reading with a different pronunciation and/or tune. We would hear modern Israeli version, a Sefardic Yerushalmi version, a Yemenite version, a Morrocan version, and even a Hasidic version (zuchoir asher usu lechu amuleik).

Last Shabbat I went to Merkaz HaRav for the first time since the massacre to hear parshat Zachor. I imagine that after the cowardly massacre of yeshiva students by a lowly Arab terrorist, an act that was so similar to that of biblical Amalek, hearing parshat zachor was a little bit different this year for the rabbis and the students. I know that it was for me. Rav Yaakov Shapira shlita was called up to read the parasha as his father had before him. A few students read the parasha after him more or less as I described above. Even after such a tragedy the Jewish people continue to stride forward. Torah, mitzvot and tefilah, and more torah, mitzvot and tefilah. Temidim kesidram umusafim kehilchatam.

After the tefilah everybody ( a couple of hundred worshippers) lines up to wish Rav Yaakov Shabbat Shalom.

Afterwards, at my son's request, we went down to see the site of the massacre, the yeshiva's library. This was an eery feeling, to see this place, full of holy books, which had become a killing field. The bullet holes were all over the place. There were bullet holes in the floor, caused by point blank shots fired by anti-Jew to make sure that those lying wounded would never get up again. Here, between the shelves laden with sacred tomes, absolute evil came to confront holiness and purity with the purpose of wiping it out. I sat down with my son at one of the tables in the yeshiva library to learn Mishnah, joining others that were already learning. The wicked one succedeed in cutting down the lives of eight pure and holy souls, but he failed in his task. Merkaz HaRav carries on with more resolve than ever.

The Hamans, Hadrians and Hitlers of the world make a lot of noise, cause a lot of destruction and misery, but they eventually die an eternal death. Our Arab neighbors are following the same path, which led them in the past to a Nakba. I have a feeling that another Nakba is on the way for them.


Avi said...

They will not succeed. The light of the Torah will never be extinguished. Let us all further our resolves in their holy merits.

Cosmic X said...

Hello Alex,

I read the article and it is full of inaccuracies and false assumptions.

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