The Palace Hall in Boro Park was filled Wednesday night, as men and women answered the call of Agudas Yisrael to gather to daven for our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael.
The Kinus Tefillah V’Hisorerus took place Wednesday, August 6, as Israel faces a more difficult task than fighting a war — that of winning the peace amid the pressures of both friend and foe.
Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel, opened the program by saying: “Now there is a ceasefire, but we don’t know what each new day will bring…. We know the resha’im still have their sights aimed toward Am Yisrael … It is still a time of ‘eis tzarah hi l’Yaakov.’”
Rabbi Zwiebel said there are messages we need to take from this war. Thus the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah insisted that this event must go forward, even though the guns have been stilled at this time.
The Novominsker Rebbe spoke in Yiddish. He began by reminding the audience that this was an “ernster zman far alle Yidden in der gantza velt.” He reminded us of what Jews are suffering in Paris, in Ukraine, in Belgium — seemingly the whole world has erupted in anti-Semitism. In the zechus of the achdus of Klal Yisrael during this war when we cried out to Hashem, that we have no one to rely on but Avinu She’baShamayim, we merited to give shevach v’hodaya for overcoming the enemy. We must continue to daven further that Jewish blood should not continue to spill, and the enemies should continue to fall. The Rebbe pointed out that we in America must support our brethren, be “nosei b’ol im chavero,” especially in these moments. As we approach Tu B’Av, we have to strengthen our commitment to Torah. It is not enough to say a few kapitlach Tehillim… Our tefillos should be elevated to a higher level of davening. “Dorten geest zich Yiddish blit uhn doh fort men in de Shveitz?” The Rebbe exhorted the olam to have uppermost in their minds the ikrim of life, not the tafeil, and in the merit of coming together “k’ish echad b’lev echad” and making changes in our lives to reflect the serious times we live in, may we merit to return to Yerushalayim bimheirah.
Next on the program was Harav Yisroel Reisman, a Rosh Yeshivah in Torah Vodaath and Rav of Agudas Yisrael of Madison, who just returned from spending three weeks in Eretz Yisrael and brought a first-hand report of the situation. He said that a Yid has to train himself to follow his head, his seichel — and not his heart, his taavos. Psychologists marvel that a person addicted to smoking can stop smoking every week for 25 hours. How is this possible? Because a Yid must overrule his heart with his head, especially in an eis tzarah. Just as a soldier in battle must conquer his feelings and run toward the enemy when his instinct would be to run the other way, we have to know not to be afraid. Hashem said “lo tira’u.” Here we tend to think the Israelis are shaken up, are afraid … not so. In a time of milchamah, in a time of tzarah, the heart must follow the head, the Torah. He compared the idealism of Yidden in Eretz Yisrael for Torah with the idealism in America, and found us here to be sadly lacking. Our minds are busy with political analysis, he said, not with divrei Torah. We need to concentrate on the mo’ach— the brain, the Torah.
We don’t have to be nevi’im to see kibbutz Galuyus before our eyes. It used to be one part of the world at a time, but now, it is everywhere. Jews from Paris, Jews from Ukraine, Jews from all around the world are coming to Eretz Yisrael, and there they see the Yad Hashem in front of them at all times. In the ’67 war, Harav Nachum Partzovitz advised a bachur not to go back to America, because there he would not shteig. However, his parents insisted and the bachur went home. He returned and told Reb Nachum that he continued his learning and he did shteig in America. Reb Nachum responded that he didn’t mean shteiging in learning, but shteiging in learning how to cope with adversity, how to respond with our hearts in a time of sakanah, as our brothers in Eretz Yisrael do.
The program ended with Tehillim for the matzav in Eretz Yisrael. May we be zocheh to be mekabel pnei Moshiach Tzidkeinu bimheirah.