The Cry of the Blood of Our Brothers

The sound of your brother’s bloods, they cry out to Me from the ground.” (Bereishis 4:10)

As Jews throughout the world sat in shul this past Shabbos, thoughts of our brethren in Eretz Yisrael came to mind when they heard this passuk being read during Krias haTorah. A wave of terror attacks has killed four precious Jews and injured numerous others, sending shockwaves throughout the globe.

The blood of our brothers is crying out from the ground of Eretz Yisrael. They cry out to Hashem, and call on us to take action as well.s Jews throughout the world sat in shul this past Shabbos, thoughts of our brethren in Eretz Yisrael came to mind when they heard this passuk being read during Krias haTorah. A wave of terror attacks has killed four precious Jews and injured numerous others, sending shockwaves throughout the globe.

Our obligations as Torah Jews who are areivim zeh bazeh behoove us to do more than simply grieve, read about and discuss the precise details and locations of the terror attacks. We must recognize that those of us in the Diaspora have a vital role to play in bolstering the safety and security of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael. In fact, the requisite hishtadlus that we must undertake on their behalf is the most important one of all.

When Yaakov Avinu gave Shechem to Yosef (Bereishis 48:22), he stated that he took it from the hands of the Emori “b’charbi u’v’kashti.” While the simple translation of these words is “with my sword and with my bow,” it is telling that Rashi explains “this means my wisdom [of Torah] and my tefillah.”

Certainly, every proper temporal hishtadlus must be undertaken as well. But, ultimately, our most potent weapons are Torah, tefillah, and tzedakah. When innocent Jews are brutally murdered as they walk in Yerushalayim, we dare not remain silent. This is a time for heartfelt tefillah, for increasing the amount of Tehillim we recite and the fervor with which we say it. It is a time for reflection and thoughts of teshuvah, a time of increasing the study of Torah and acts of tzedakah as a merit for our brethren in the Holy Land.

We have no inkling how powerful a tefillah can be, and we will never know which tefillah helped prevent a terrible tragedy across the globe. But we do know that every tefillah we utter, every mitzvah that is undertaken as a zechus, makes a huge difference.

It is also a time to fortify ourselves in emunah.

Chazal (Midrash Shmuel II 163) teach us that four righteous kings faced times of conflict, and each of them approached it differently.

Dovid Hamelech said (Tehillim 18:38), “I pursued my foes and overtook them, and returned not until they were destroyed.”

When King Assa faced battle, he told Hashem that “I don’t have the strength to kill; I will pursue and You will do.” And that is precisely what occurred.

King Yehoshofat, when he faced conflict, told Hashem that “I don’t have the strength to kill nor to pursue. I will recite Shirah, and You will do.”

So it was.

When Chizkiyahu Hamelech and Am Yisrael faced annihilation by the mass army of Sancheriv, he declared, “I don’t have the strength to kill, nor to pursue, nor to say Shirah. I will sleep on my bed and You will do.”

The Ribbono shel Olam miraculously wiped out the mass armies of Sancheriv.

At first glance it would seem that Chizkiyahu — who undertook no hishtadlus whatsoever — was on the loftiest level of bitachon; his predecessors Yehoshofat and Assa on a lower level, and Dovid Hamelech — who actually personally killed his enemies — on an even lower level.

Hagaon Harav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, however, explained the Midrash to be teaching us the precise opposite.

Dovid Hamelech was on such a great level of emunah that even when he personally killed his enemies, it was crystal clear to him that it was all from Hashem and had nothing to with his own abilities or actions. Assa didn’t feel that he was on such a level, and didn’t trust himself that were he to personally kill his enemies he would still fully recognize that it wasn’t his own power. Therefore, he chose only to pursue.

Yehoshafat, who trusted himself even less, feared that if undertook any sort of hishtadlus — even merely pursuing — he might delude himself into thinking that his own actions played a role. Therefore, he chose to say Shirah instead.

Chizkiyahu Hamelech feared that even if he would say Shirah, he might mislead himself into taking some credit for the salvation, and instead chose to sleep in his bed — for then there could be no doubt that it all is from Hashem.

When the contemporary barbaric enemies of our people choose to use such primitive, widely available, easy to hide and very deadly weapons such as knives, any sort of hishtadlus to stop them from committing their heinous acts is very limited. Neither the vaunted Iron Dome system, nor the most sophisticated tanks and airplanes, can prevent such attacks.

The attacks have occurred in various cities and neighborhoods, illustrating that staying away from specific areas will not offer protection. When simply walking the streets makes one vulnerable to a terror attack, it is increasingly clear to a very intelligent observer that our only real hope is entrusting our fate to the Shomer Yisrael. Only Hakadosh Baruch Hu can protect our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisrael.

It is told that the Kotzker Rebbe, zy”a, once encountered a lamdan who prided himself that he was able to answer all the questions raised by the Rishonim.

“Do you also know how to answer the question of the ship’s captain?” the Rebbe asked him.

The befuddled lamdan, who didn’t understand what the Kotzker Rebbe was referring to, was at a loss how to respond.

The Rebbe reminded him of the words the captain had asked Yonah Hanavi: “How can you sleep so soundly? Arise! Call to your G-d!”

We would do well to ask ourselves the same question.