ANALYSIS: Yisrael Nosha B’Hashem Teshuas Olamim

The atzeres tefillah over religious persecution in the State of Israel, and over the forced draft law, was far bigger than the words with which we will try to describe it. It was higher, loftier and more elevated than any written description, vivid and lifelike as it may be, could possibly convey. It was not only the extraordinary “yachad — together” that we witnessed yesterday in Yerushalayim, not only one heart of a united Klal Yisrael cleaving to the holy Torah and seeking to preserve it and its lomdim; but it was also soul. There was an inner, deeper quality to it all, a cleansing feeling, that sought to become closer to Hashem, that wanted to cleave to our Rabbanim, the Gedolim and tzaddikim of our generation, and that pleaded with our Creator: We want to do Your Will — please remove all the obstacles in that path. It was a pure tefillah for our future and the future of our children. There was also prayer for those who are harassing us and demanding the opposite of what is good for us: they, too, are Jewish, and we daven that they do teshuvah, because the Gates of Repentance are never closed, even to them.

Hundreds of thousands of members of Klal Yisrael came together as one man with one soul, full of emotions, enveloped in a feeling of “Yisrael areivim zeh lazeh,” infused with a determination to shatter the barriers that separate us from each other; to blur the differences that stem from different worldviews on public issues; to ignore the variations in the nuscha’os, and not to even pay attention to the fact that the other person belongs to another sector, anther camp. They came to the entrance of Yerushalayim despite the difficulties, despite the long trips. It was important for them to declare the singular, united, mutual truth that rises above and supersedes anything that divides us — and to those who seek to threaten that truth, and to harm it, we say “Ein lanu shiur rak haTorah hazos.” They came — Chassidim, Litvishe, Sephardim, among their many communities, and Ashkenazim from backgrounds of all kinds; among the crowd one could also see those from the national religious sector; there were old and young, middle aged and children. Women, mothers of Klal Yisrael, were out in full force, as their chief concern is that their sons should be able to learn Torah undisturbed.

And together, they all cried out, from the depths of their hearts: “Hakshivah Adon l’kol shaavasam … Listen to the cry of their pleas … Ki Atah Rav Selichos U’Baal Harachamim.” There were no speeches; there was no talking. There was tefillah, there was Kabbalas Ol Malchus Shamayim. There was a remarkable sense of order. There was a Kiddush Shem Shamayim on a mass scale. There were clear, penetrating decisions. Hundreds of thousands answered the call of Gedolei Yisrael, after understanding how crucial this hour was, and knew how to appreciate the greatness of the event. After internalizing that it is an “eis tzarah l’Yaakov,” together, yachad, they created a tremendous power that issued forth a resounding cry from one end of the world to the other: “Leave the bnei yeshivah alone, let those who want to learn do so — don’t decree forced conscription on them.” They added an emotional cry: “Enough of the religious persecution, enough of the incitement.”

We don’t know what the government will do tomorrow and what the High Court will say the day after that. We have no idea how the secular establishment, with its many arms, will treat us from now on. But there is no doubt that this unity, this inner hisorerus, which was felt by anyone who accepted Ol Malchus Shamayim at this event, that sweet unity that was expressed in the emotional tefillos, singing and dancing that followed — is very powerful On High. Shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, Klal Yisrael stood together, and the common denominator that brought them together was not something fleeting; it was not just a slogan; it was something deep that can be expressed in just one word: Torah! Lomdei Torah! Torah in holiness and purity! Preserving all that is holy in Klal Yisrael! The future of Klal Yisrael! And the tefillos offered yesterday will certainly serve as a zechus for us and all of Klal Yisrael wherever they may be before the Kisei Hakavod.

The atzeres tefillah, which turned into a historical event, brought hundreds of thousands of people under the open skies in one location. Anyone who thinks such a mass of people can be ignored is making a serious mistake; the turnout taught both us and others that, indeed, we have nothing but our Torah. Again we learned, and we taught, that believing Jews have no law that can stand in the way of the laws of Torah. There is no value that is above the value of Torah. Again we have learned and have taught that our lifestyle is based on Halachah, whatever the price may be for that. Again we have learned, and have taught, that we have nothing except for the words of Gedolei Yisrael in every generation, in whose shadows we take shelter and in whose light we follow. Again we have learned and again we have taught that we remember the fact that we are in galus, that we have not yet been redeemed, and that the existence of Yiddishkeit is not something to be taken for granted, but rather something into which we must invest every effort, every one of our senses and every drop of emotional energy into perpetuating.

May it be that this wondrous unity remain engraved in our hearts and should lead our lifestyle from here on in. May it be that the hisorerus that was manifested yesterday within, should remain without henceforth. May it be that the achdus of Klal Yisrael should breach our boundaries and illuminate the way for our brethren on the other side with the light of Yiddishkeit, and then, we will merit that they will understand that this hostile, cultural war of harassment and scorn for everything holy will have to end, as “We are not a nation other than with our Torah,” and without Torah there would be no existence for Am Yisrael. B’rov am hadras Melech. And when we went out to the streets in Eretz Yisrael, hundreds of thousands, joined at the same time by those from abroad who davened simultaneously — then the collective prayer rises to the Creator, and we hope He will give us the merit to see indeed how “Yisrael Nosha B’Hashem teshuas olamim.”