The Kedoshim of Chalamish

The Friday night seudah at the Salomon home in Chalamish was about to begin. The family was also celebrating a shalom zachar in honor of the birth of a new grandchild, and the front door was open, awaiting the invited guests — when the unthinkable occurred.

At a time when Jews throughout Eretz Yisrael were making Kiddush, three lofty individuals gave their lives al kiddush Hashem, and once again, the collective heart of Am Yisrael was rent asunder.

Disguised as a Jew, a Palestinian terrorist armed with a knife invaded the house and began to viciously attack members of the family. In a matter of minutes, the family patriarch, Yosef, Hy”d, 70, and two of his children — Chaya, Hy”d, 46, and Elad, Hy”d, 36 — had been brutally murdered, and Tova Salomon, tbl”c, Yosef’s widow and the bereaved mother of Chaya and Elad, was wounded.

As we mourn these holy martyrs who were killed only because they were Jews, we grieve not for their fate — they have merited a place in Gan Eden — but for our loss. For their family, their friends, their neighbors, life will never be the same again, and the global Jewish community joins them in their grief.

What words of consolation can be offered to a mother, still recovering from her own wounds, who is mourning the murder of her husband and two of her children?

What words can be used to describe the courage of Mrs. Michal Salomon, the almanah of Elad, Hy”d, who maintained her composure under the most terrifying circumstances and, amid the mayhem, rushed her children to safety in an upstairs bedroom?

What can we tell the young orphans, who are suddenly bereft of their beloved father, grandfather and aunt?

We cannot possibly console them. Only Hakadosh Baruch Hu can.

***

These are days of deep mourning, as we weep over the Churban of the Beis Hamikdash and the galus of our nation, as well as the many personal tragedies that have had such devastating consequences for so many individuals.

It is a time to weep; it is also a time to fortify our shattered hearts with emunah and cleave to Hashem. For it is precisely now, during these nine days of mourning, that is a most opportune time for introspection, inspiration, and strengthening our unbreakable bond with our Creator.

Shabbos Chazon is not the only Shabbos named after its haftarah. Shabbos Nachamu and Shabbos Shuvah are two others. But there is a key difference.

In the case of the other two Shabbosos, the name is not only the first word of the haftarah; it also sums up the point of the entire haftarah and, by extension, the essence of that Shabbos. The Shabbos between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is a Shabbos of teshuvah, and the Shabbos after Tishah B’Av is a Shabbos of consolation.

In contrast, “Chazon Yeshayahu — the Vision of Yeshayahu” — are the opening words of a haftarah that deals primarily with reprimand rather than prophecy for the future. Hence, a question: Why indeed is this Shabbos called Shabbos Chazon, the Shabbos of Vision?

Writing in the Warsaw ghetto amidst indescribable torment and after enduring unspeakable suffering, Harav Klonymus Kalman Shapira, the Piaseczner Rebbe, Hy”d, offered a most powerful explanation.

He gave the classic parable of a child who must undergo a painful operation. The father is well aware that it is for his son’s benefit, but still, he cannot bear to watch his son’s pain. For when he actually witnesses the pain he cannot focus on the fact that it is for his son’s benefit; all he feels is the pain of his son that he sees before his eyes.

There is, of course, a compelling reason for all our suffering, yet when Hashem “sees” — so to speak — our pain, he is overcome with rachmanus for His beloved children. The Shabbos before Tishah B’Av is a time of chazon, of vision, when Hashem sees our pain and is filled with mercy.

It is particularly moving that this is the last known dvar Torah that the Rebbe succeeded in writing down before he was killed al kiddush Hashem more than a year later.

In the merit of all the kedoshim of all the generations, in the merit of the very fact that despite all we have endured, Klal Yisrael still cleaves to Hashem, may Hakadosh Baruch Hu “see” our anguish and redeem us speedily in our days.