Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America Calls Upon Kehillos to Designate Friday as Yom Tefillah

(Agudath Israel) — The Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America has released a Kol Korei emphasizing the significance of the Erev Shabbos of the week of Parshas Chukas, which has been established for generations as a day of fasting due to historical calamities.

In light of the numerous challenges facing Klal Yisroel today, the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah is calling upon all kehillos to designate this Friday as a yom tefillah, with specific chapters of Tehillim to be recited.

The full Kol Korei, and a free translation, can be found below. 

May our tefillos be accepted favorably and may the zechus haTorah protect us.

THIS IS THE DECREE OF THE TORAH 

(Free translation) 

Tuesday morning, Parshas Chukas, 5784 

The Magein Avrohom writes in siman 580 (s”k 9, as brought in the Mishnah Berurah, s”k 15), citing the Sefer Tanya Rabbosi (by Rabbeinu Yechiel HaRofei of Rome), that the Friday of the week of Parshas Chukas was established for generations as a day of fasting due to the calamities that occurred on that day. The Tanya Rabbosi states: “Regarding the burning of the Torah, we have written this as a memorial for what happened in our times due to our numerous sins, which caused this, and the Toras Elokeinu was burned in the year 5002 from the creation of the world, on the Friday of the week of the parsha of Zos Chukas HaTorah, about twenty-four wagons filled with sifrei Talmud, halachos, and aggadoswere burned in France, etc., and we heard from the rabbonim who were there that they performed a she’ailas chalom to determine if this was a decree from the Creator, and they were answered: ‘Veda gezeiras Oraysa – This is a decree from the Torah,’ meaning that on the Friday of ‘Zos Chukas HaTorah’ is the decree. From that day onward, individuals took upon themselves to fast on this day every year on the Friday of the parsha of ‘Zos Chukas HaTorah.’” 

The Magein Avrohom adds that besides the burning of the Talmud, great troubles have occurred on this day over the generations, leading to the destruction of entire Jewish communities, R”l

Now, we come to matters pertaining to our present time, as in this generation numerous troubles and severe decrees have arisen against the Am Hashem in general and specifically targeting the Torah and its scholars, and the young children learning Torah, both in Eretz Yisroel and in the Diaspora. Policy-makers, with malicious intent, aim to disrupt the sanctity of Torah scholars, requiring the students of our holy yeshivos to abandon their study benches in the beis medrash and enlist in the military. They scheme with various tricks, and their hand is still outstretched, poised to persist. Moreover, decrees are being issued against young children learning Torah, both in Eretz Yisroel and in the Diaspora. All of this is reminiscent of the decree of burning the Torah. 

In such a time of terrible concealment of Hashem’s Presence, our enemies have lifted their heads, and our adversaries and accusers are exulting over us, saying, “Pursue them and capture them, for there is no one to save them,” Heaven forbid. Woe to the ears that hear daily of our brethren falling as casualties, being killed and captured, Heaven forbid, and there is no day whose curse is not greater than the previous one. Upon whom can we rely? Only upon our Father in Heaven. 

Therefore, at this time, a time of distress for Yaakov, it is our duty to follow the practice of our ancestors, to uphold the voice of Yaakov, and to increase our prayers and supplications before the Master of Mercy. For when Klal Yisroel looks upwards and subjugates their hearts to our Father in Heaven, no weapon formed against us shall succeed. 

Hence, we call upon all holy congregations of Klal Yisroel to designate this Friday of the week of Parshas Chukas as a day of great and bitter outcry regarding this decree of the Torah, to raise our voices to Heaven against the defiant hands lifted against the Toras Moshe. This day, established centuries ago by our forefathers as a fast day for severe decrees against the Torah and for harsh events that occurred to the Am HaTorah on this day, is auspicious for seeking mercy for these matters that are akin to the event [for which this day was initially established]. 

We therefore earnestly request that in all communities of Klal Yisroel, in shuls and botei medrashos, in Talmudei Torahand schools, in all retreats and camps, every place according to its custom, all should gather together this Friday, the week of Parshas Chukas, to awaken Divine mercy by publicly reciting specific chapters of Tehillim: 13, 79, 80, 121, 130 and 142. 

We add that since this day is designated by halachic authorities for fasting by select individuals, those who wish to accept a partial fast, as explained in Shulchan Aruch siman 562, will be blessed, and the merit of the many depends on them. 

May Hashem help us for the sake of His glorious Name, and may His mercy be aroused for the remnant of His people, to annul all harsh decrees against us. May our supplications be accepted favorably, and may the merit of the many and the merit of the Torah protect us, saving us from all distress and hardship, and all wickedness will vanish like smoke. Soon, may we hear and be comforted with good tidings and consolation. Amein, so may it be His will. 

Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America

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