Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Yom Tefillah - A Day of Prayer

Community leaders from various communities have issued a call to unite Jews wherever they are in the recitation of Tehillim on the day which marks the Shloshim of the Kedoshim of the Mumbai massacre.

We, the undersigned, wish to join with them in this call and we urge all Chabad communities to unite in the recitation Tehillim on Wednesday afternoon, 4th of Teves, Dec. 31st, in the early afternoon (1:00 pm or shortly thereafter).

We suggest that the following chapters be recited: Psalm 20, 28, 30, 107, and the letters נשמה in Psalm 119, followed by 130.

Central Committee of Chabad Rabbis in the U.S. and Canada
Committee of Chabad Rabbis in the Holy Land
Bais Din of Crown Heights

Rockets from Aza to Sderot

Moshe Ze’ev Pizem, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Sderot, said that throughout his city – which has dealt with the threat of rocket attacks for years and has become a virtual ghost town – people are fed up. Speaking by phone, he had to stop talking when another siren blasted a warning call. He calmly noted when each of the two ensuring rockets fell. “There is a feeling of fear everywhere,” he said. “Even us: Even though we are emissaries, we are still human beings. It is horrible and horrendous, the suspense and fear."
(Full article including the damage to the home of the Shluchim)


With profound sadness and deep pain we inform you of the passing of Dov Ber Holtzberg, the 4-year-old son of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg HYD, after a lengthy illness r"l.

Dov Ber's passing comes just one day before his family concludes the shloshim period of mourning for his martyred parents, making this a double tragedy for the family and indeed all Anash.

He was buried Tuesday morning next to his parents and older brother, who also died of the same disease two years ago. Dov had been living in a long-term care facility in Jerusalem.


Hamokom Yenachem eschem Besoch Shaar Avaylay Tzion VeYerushalayim. Vehukeetzu Veranenu Shochnay Ufur vehu besochom


Eschem? Eschem?? Who?? The grandparents??? Who is going to be comforted?? Who is going to mourn for him?? Besides for the entire Jewish world, of course....Hashem! This can't go on!

May Rabbi & Mrs. Rosenberg and Rabbi & Mrs. Holtzberg be comforted with the coming of Moshiach IMMEDIATELY!

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Bar Mitzvah party in Sderot was celebrating on the roof of a building when a kassam flew right over their heads, crashing into the building next door. The celebrants continued to rejoice. The boy read his haftorah. Only afterward, will he be going up North for a vacation. The people of Sderot are filled with a different spirit. They are willing to suffer the reprisals of the Hamas if only the IDF does its job and makes their lives safer in the future. Unlike other towns under fire, their streets are full. [nragen]

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Joining the War

Rafi G. just took a taxi and when he got in, the driver was listening to the news about the war, as pretty much everyone is right now.

The driver groaned and said "War".

Said Rafi back to him "Actually, there has been a war for a while. Just now we finally joined it."

I found that rather telling.

(The driver cracked up as he said he loved the line and would use it.)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Two Years Since That כ''ח כסלו

....I notice that one flame had gone out. One wick stood empty, stood cold. I was so shocked. So taken aback. These are my flames. My lights. My menorah. I lit them. I prepared the wicks. I brought it from them. These lights can't go out. How can they? So I tried relighting it but it wouldn't go. The lights just wouldn't come back. The flame wouldn't catch. So I used a match to knock the wick outta the glass and then fiddled w/ it for a bit till I felt confident that it would allow itself to be ignited. And I put it back in the olive oil and this time when I lit it, it worked. But those moments that the wick was out, lyin on the silver-foiled chair, those moments were hard. In a weird way. I felt too connected to the candles. And then I continued learning. And then when I looked up soon after, to check on my candles (as I had been doin every coupla minutes since I lit them) I noticed something that made my heart nearly sing. I saw the third flame-the wick that wouldn't relight-leaping and bending higher than the others. I saw my wick dance with pride. With true pride. And humility. My light was higher than all the other ones. Yes it had gone out but then w/ the relighting and the adjustment of the oil measurements, it reached heights previously incapable of.

Neshomos. Moishie's neshama. Twas taken away-the fire burnt out..the heat gone, now limp and cold-his body, his family, his world. But in just a few minutes Hashem will send him back and he will be stronger than before. Taller and stronger. Proud. Proud and humble. He will come back even better than before. Yeridah litzorich aliyah.

It's been a long "few minutes", G-d. It's been a long long long few minutes. It's really time to end this. It's time to bring back our little brother. All our little brothers. All our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers. Time to bring them all back, forever.
It's time, G-d. It's really really time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Remember this cool Chanukah story from two years ago?

The 'What Can I Do?' Page

I keep refreshing it-I like to see the mitzvos climb-It makes me stronger.
I have it near my Gmail-It's a constant reminder-It keeps me in place.

What Can YOU Do?

The question is not "Can I do?"; it's "What can I do?".
And the question is to YOU. Cuz you CAN do something.
So, do.

Now, there are 9,871 Mitzvos.

I see the "What Can I Do?" tab and it keeps things in perspective for me.
I see the "What Can I Do?" tab and it reinforces the knowledge that we CAN do something.

See the "Response to Mumbai Massacre" post below.

Response to Mumbai Massacre

Watch or Listen to a fitting response to the massacre in Mumbai.
With lessons from the Parsha and more, it really "makes sense".

Mottel's Response to Richard Silverstein

Read it.

The time is NOW!

For more than 40 hours, we held our breaths. Who could breathe, who could function, with our very own – Jews, Lubavitchers, shluchim – hostage?
Sifrei kodesh bullet ridden; a Chabad House full of blood and bodies. We all davened, pleading with Hashem, each in our own way . . . and then we heard the terrible fatal news.
The shock, the pain, the tears we cried, the denials we threw up to Hashem. But it’s easy to forget, distracted by the very normalcy of our lives.
But that’s not fair. It’s not fair to just acquiesce to tragedy, to be resigned to more kaparos, more pain, more suffering. We need to end galus NOW! Chas vesholom should an orphan have to grow up commemorating his parents’ murders and the destruction of his life on his birthday, year after year.
Then we were storming, pleading and demanding from Hashem. Now, we have to continue.
Please join women and girls throughout the world in a project designed with one goal – to end galus now! Let us say NO to life where almost every day another structure crumbles, and when it seems it can’t get any worse, another support crashes, and another.
The Rebbe told us that the derech yeshara, the straightest path to bring Moshiach, is learning about Moshiach, especially through the Rebbe’s talks. Another tool is achdus. A third power is women – the nashim tzidkaniyos in whose hands the Rebbe entrusted the redemption.
Our goal is to harness all three enormous forces by uniting women and girls around the world in learning inyonei Moshiach.
To join click here.
Join this grassroots movement toward geula. We will partner you with people from around the world and inform you via Email or phone of your partner’s information. We will be united through learning the same oisiyos of the same Sichos. Our goal is to learn four oisiyos weekly. On this link you can download the Sicha with summaries and translations . The information can be faxed if you do not have access to the Internet.
There are 4 options to participate, to personalize the learning for each individual according to her style while maintaining the Achdus. You can choose to:

Teach these Sichos to others
Learn Bechevrusa with a detailed word list
Be taught these Sichos
Learn Bechevrusa through detailed english summaries

Please report weekly of your learning. You will be able to report online, by phone or by text - 347-661-2726. On Monday, we will draw a weekly winner in a raffle of all the high school girls who reported learning the previous week.
In the year of hakhel, there is no greater power that we can harness than our achdus in fulfilling the Rebbe’s hora’os of the derech yeshara to bring Moshiach. Let us collectively tell the Aibishter NO – no more tragedies, no more orphans, no more blood and tears. Aibishter, we are committed to doing what You have told us works. Please, just reveal Moshiach now!

Neshei U’bnos Chabad International

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How to Deal With Temptation

The Stubborn Note
By Yosef Y. Jacobson
Biblical Music
The Bible is well known as a book of words. Less known is the fact that it is a book of tunes. Each word of the Torah contains a musical note with which it is read and sung in synagogues whenever the Hebrew Bible is read publicly.
This is, parenthetically, what makes the reading of the Torah a challenging task. Since these notes are not transcribed in the Torah itself — they were transmitted orally from generation to generation — the person reading the Torah must memorize the appropriate note for each word.
These musical notes, passed down from Moses through the generations, are extremely meticulous and significant. They often expose us to a word's or a sentence's depth that we would have never appreciated from the word or sentence themselves.
One of the rarest and most unusual musical notes in the Bible is known in Hebrew as the "shalsheles." No other written musical note of the Bible is rendered in a repetitive style except the shalsheles, which stubbornly repeats itself three times. The graphic notation of this note, too, looks like a streak of lightning, a "zigzag movement," a mark that goes repeatedly backward and forward.
This unique musical note appears no more than four times in all of the Torah, three times in Genesis and once in Leviticus (1). One of them is in this week's portion, at a moment of high moral and psychological drama.
The Refusal
Here is the story:
Joseph is an extremely handsome teen-ager and his father Jacob's favorite child. He is sold into slavery by his brothers, who loathe him. Displayed on the Egyptian market, he is bought by a prominent Egyptian citizen, Potiphar, who ultimately chooses the slave to become the head of his household. There, Joseph attracts the lustful imagination of his master's wife. She desperately tries to engage him in a relationship, yet he steadfastly refuses her.
Here is the Bible's description (2):
"Joseph was well-built and handsome in his appearance. After a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, 'Come to bed with me.' But he refused. He said: 'With me in charge, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against G-d?'"
Over the verb "but he refused," tradition has placed a shalsheles, the thrice-repeated musical note.
What is the significance of this rare note on this particular verb?
There is one more intriguing detail in this narrative, concerning the way the Bible reports Joseph's response to the woman's proposition. When his master's wife asks him to lie with her, we would expect Joseph to first explain to her why he cannot accept her offer, and then conclude by saying no. Yet the Bible tells us that the first thing Joseph did was refuse her. Only afterward does he justify his refusal. Why?
The Struggle
Joseph's refusal, we must remember, was not devoid of ambivalence and struggle. On the one hand, his entire moral sense said: No. It would be a betrayal of everything his family stood for — its ethic of sexual propriety and its strong sense of identity as children of the covenant. It would also be, as Joseph himself explained to the woman, a betrayal of her husband and a sin to G-d.
And yet the temptation, tradition tells us (3), was intense. We could understand why. Joseph is an 18-year-old slave in a foreign country. He does not even own his body; his master exercised full control over his life, as was the fate of all ancient slaves. Joseph has not a single friend or relative in the world. His mother died when he was 9 years old, and his father thought he was dead. His siblings were the ones who sold him into slavery, robbing him of his youth. One could only imagine the profound sense of loneliness that pervaded the heart of this gifted and handsome teen-ager.
A person in such isolation is not only overtaken by extremely powerful temptations to alleviate his solitariness and distress, but very likely may feel that a single action of his makes little difference in the ultimate scheme of things.
After all, what was at stake if Joseph succumbed to this woman's demands? Nobody was ever likely to find out what had occurred between the two. Joseph would not need to return home in the evening to face a dedicated spouse or a spiritual father, nor would he have to go back to a family or a community of moral standing. His family's reputation would not be besmirched as a result of this act. He would remain alone after the event, just as he was alone before it. So what's the big deal to engage in a snapshot relationship?
In addition, we must take into consideration the power possessed by this Egyptian noblewoman who was inciting Joseph. She was in the position of being able to turn Joseph's life into a paradise or a living hell. In fact, she did just that, having him incarcerated for 12 years in an Egyptian dungeon on the false charges that he attempted to violate her.
The Talmud (4) describes the techniques the woman used in order to persuade Joseph. Click here to read more

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Don't drive her crazy in the toy store!" the mother warned the kids.
"Don't drive me crazy, period." I retorted.
"Nope", the father called from the back, "that's not what she said."

What can WE give to the King?

Danger. The king was in danger. He had left his palace, alone, to go hunting in one of his many forests. Now, hours later, he was trapped in the forest, clueless as to how to get out. His situation worsened as time went on and the light all but completely left the sky. Suddenly, he slipped. Instinctively, he cried out and called for help. His desperate shouts seemed to mock him as they echoed amongst the trees, in vain. Pathetically, the king cried out again and again, hoping that somehow, there would be someone around who would hear and come to his aid.

And, miraculously, there was. An honest man who had made his home in the forest heard the cries for help. He dashed out of his home and into the night, in search of its source. When he at last found the dying king, it was impossible to recognize him as the proud and majestic king he once was. For the peasant, however, the status that the needy man held mattered not. Lifting the king up, he gently guided him out of the dangerous forest and into his simple hut. He dried, changed and fed the king. He tended to his wounds. The good man took it upon himself to nurse his ill patient until he gained sufficient strength to leave the shack and continue on his way. And all the while, the peasant had no idea that it was the king of the land who was sleeping on his bed of straw.

Shortly after the king left, the peasant received a gift at his door. Along with a breathtaking set of silverware, there was a note. It was from the king who was thanking him for his hospitality in the forest and for nursing him back to his health. The simple man was shocked. The king?? He had hosted the king in his dilapidated hut?? Amazed, he now turned his attention to the gift. Ridiculously out of place in his impoverished home, it was placed on a corner shelf and eventually forgotten about.

Some time passed. The king was on yet another one of his expeditions and happened to be passing through the area where he had gotten lost in the forest some time beforehand. He sent word to his simple benefactor that he would like to visit him in his home and thank him personally.

When the peasant heard that the king was coming, he was overcome with anxiety. How can he welcome His Majesty into his impoverished shack?? This was no place for a royal king!! Frantic, he scrambled around in search of something to display that would be presentable for someone of such stature. Suddenly, he came upon the gift that he had received from the king months earlier. Realizing that surely this grand set is something that the king can well appreciate, he gratefully placed it on the table and awaited the king's entrance.

This time, when the king came through the door, he was royally attired and well-escorted. The peasant trembled, feeling ashamed at the sorry welcome he was offering the king. He exclaimed, “My deepest apologies, Your Highness! My home is but the simplest of homes. My food? Your dogs surely have tasted better. What do I have that I can offer to the king? Understandably, I have nothing from my own that is worthy for His Majesty. The only thing I assumed appropriately honorable was something that His Majesty himself had sent to me."

The peasant gestured to the table and the king turned to view the costly and beautiful set of silverware -the one that he had sent—that was laid out on the rickety table.

The eyes of the king lit up and a warm appreciative smile spread across his face.


"Did you ever consider becoming an author?" Shaul asked.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Friends can bring a smile.

...a smile from the brain
that leads to the heart
that leads to the face
that leads to life...

Thanx, friend.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

it doesn't go away

they warned the deaths
they feared the deaths
they suspected the deaths
they hinted the deaths
they reported the deaths
they confirmed the deaths
they published the deaths
they mourned the deaths

i'll undo their deaths

A story with the Holtzbergs HY"D

בימים שלפני ליל הסדר מסתובב גבי ותולה מודעות בבתי המלון וב"גסט-האוס"-ים בעיר מומבאי, המזמינות את ציבור היהודים לליל סדר כהלכתו בבית חב"ד.
בערב ליל הסדר, כמה שעות לפני כניסת החג, בעיצומן של ההכנות לליל הסדר, רבקי אומרת לגבי "לך תסתובב ותראה אם לא שכחנו מלון או גסט-האוס".
גבי אומר לה "אבל אני הסתובבתי אישית ותליתי בכל המקומות".
רבקי מתעקשת וגבי יותא לרחוב כמצוות רעייתו היקרה.
תוך כדי סיורים הרחובות, גבי מגלה גסט-האוס שמשום מה הוא פסח עליו בסיבוב הקודם ולא תלת בו מודעה.
הוא נכנס פנימה ומבקש מהפקידה לראות את ספר האורחים, הוא מעלעל בו ומגלה שם שנשמע ישראלי.
הוא עולה במדרגות, דופק בדלת שוב ושוב, ומשלא נשמעת תשובה הוא עוזב ומתחיל לרדת במדרגות.
כאשר הוא מגיע למדרגה התחתונה, הדלת מאחריו נפתחת ובחור עם מגבת סביב חלציו נוטף מים מסתכל עליו בהלם.
"מי שלח אותך" שואל הבחור, "הקדוש-ברוך-הוא" עונה גבי.
הבחור בהלם מוחלט קורא לו לבוא, גבי נכנס והבחור מתלבש ואומר לו:
"תשמע סיפור, אני מגיע עכשיו מדרום הודו בדרכי לצפון, כלל לא תכננתי לעצור בעיר, באתי ברכבת והייתי צריך להחליף רכבות.
כשאני יורד בתחנה ובא לקנות כרטיס, אני מגלה לחרדתי שכייסו אותי.
אני יושב על אבן ומתחיל להכנס לדיכאון, לפתע ניגש אלי זוג צעיר, הבחור מדבר אלי במבטא צרפתי ושואל אותי מאיפה אני.
כשאני אומר שאני מישראל, הבחור אומר לי -גם אני יהודי, מצרפת-נותן לי סכום כסף.
הבחור אומר לי -תיסע לעיר ותשכור חדר, אחרי החג תתקשר הביתה ותגיד להורים שיפקידו כסף בבנק הדואר, ואז תמשוך את הכסף באמצעות 'ווסטרן יוניון"-
אני עושה כמו שנציע הבחור, מגיע לעיר, שוכר חדר ב"גסט-האוס" הראשון שאני רואה, נכנס לחדר ונשכב על המיטה.
אני מסתכל כלפי מעלה ומתחיל "לדבר" עם א-לוקים - א-לוקים, מה קורה? מה יהיה? מה אני עושה כאן במצב ביש שכזה?-
אתה קולט? אני, הקיבוצניק? שמעולם לא היה לי שום קשר עם ההוא מלמעלה, מדבר אליו...
פתאום אני קולט שהיום בערב זה ליל הסדר, והמונולוג שלי מתחדש -אני יודע שהקשר בינינו לא מי יודע מה, אבל א-לוקים, אם אתה אוהב אותי, תן לי סימן, אל תתן לי להיות לבד הלילה, תן לי להיות בליל סדר אמיתי עם עוד יהודים...-
סיימתי את המונולוג, נכנסתי למקלחת, פתחתי את המים ופתאום - דפיקות בדלת, חשבתי שאני מדמיין, אבל לא, הדפיקות חזרו שוב ושוב.
סגרתי את המים, שמתי מגבת עלי בלי להתנגב וניגשתי לפתוח את הדלת.
אני פותח את הדלת ורואה מישהו שנראה כמו רב יהודי בקצה המדרגות, וכשאני שואל אותך מי שלח אותך? אתה עונה לי "הקדוש-ברוך-הוא"..."

מיותר לציין שגם הקיבוצניק הנ"ל, כמו מאות ואלפי יהודים אחרים זכו לאירוח קסום בבית חב"ד בעיר.

יהי זכרם של הרב גבריאל והרבנית רבקה הולברג ברוך יחד עם כל שאר הנרצחים, ה' ייקום דמם

In tribute to Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries Gavriel and Rivkah Holtzberg, who were brutally murdered by terrorists in Mumbai, India, singer/songwriter Moshe Hecht has produced a song about emissaries carrying out similar missions worldwide. The song, entitled "Lamplighters," is an inspiring reggae-rock anthem which brings to light the work of Chabad Shluchim, all who triumph in spreading goodness and kindness in all four corners of the world.

'Peace Now' to Pay and Apologize for Maligning Town

Fallen Angels

Click for *Music*

She closed her eyes
He wiped her tears
He said Shema
It calmed his fears

He held her hand
Said it’d be alright
Knowing well they both could lose their life

And as my world watched it on the screen
We hoped and prayed and prayed again
That it would be a silent dream
But the dawn ushered in an unfamiliar light
The worst was heard, confirmed

Now I cry to you, I lean on you,
my fellow Jew I ask of you:

Tell me how do we say goodbye
to the angels that have fallen from our life
And how do we say goodbye
to the angels that have flown away at night

3500 siblings asking why
An orphan’s forced to cry
Mommy, Totty hold my hand
One day I pray you’ll understand
The cowardly lion is not the king of the land.
But the question still remains:

Tell me how do we say goodbye
to the angels that have fallen from our life
And how do we say goodbye
to the angels that have flown away at night

Don’t judge me when I mourn
Today it’s me who’s torn
Don’t look at me
My tears are falling fast

They say it’s all a blessing in disguise
I can’t differentiate the lies from truth
What’s a mind to do

We were the super heros of the night
We would illuminate the sky
They took away the torch but not your flame
What’s my mind to do
I will never forget you
I will light the ski from here to Mumbai
And nothing will ever look the same

Tell me how do we say goodbye
to the angels that have fallen from our life
And how do we say goodbye
to the angels that have flown away at night

Chassidim Never say goodbye
We want Moshiach Now


This song was composed in memory of Gabi & Rivki Holtzberg who were cruelly murdered at their Mumbai Chabad House.

Please click here to help their little children.

Open Tabs [Mozilla Firefox]

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Friday, December 12, 2008

How Chaya Does A Mitzvah

She doesn't do it with kindness; she does it with compassion.

What is the difference between kindness and compassion?

Tzvi Freeman shares the Rebbe's wisdom:

Kindness gives to another.

Compassion knows no "other".

"YEHUDA AVNER" (big favour, i'm doing)

Canuck-shoyn with the "post yehuda avner" harassment!

Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner.
Israel. Israel.Israel. Israel.Israel. Israel.Israel. Israel.Israel.
Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner. Yehuda Avner.

A couple of "spy" "organization" "plot" "committee" "diplomat" "security" "mossad" words thrown in for good measure. Yalla.

The Maariv Cycle

She did it.
I did it, cuz she did it.
She did it, cuz I did it cuz of her.
I nearly didn't do it..but then did it cuz she was doing it only cuz I was doing it (incidentally, cuz of her).

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


SayTehillim Feiga bas Chava
Who is undergoing surgery on Thursday

4yr old avraham moshe ben miriam toba
has cancer & just spread to his brain, spine.

The Jewish Community of Mumbai

With only 5,000 Jews in a city of 18 million people, they barely made a ripple in city life and had never been targeted for attack.

Read: Mumbai Jews on Edge After Attacks in India

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The End of Shiva

Family members of the six victims recovered from the Chabad-Lubavitch center in Mumbai, India, concluded Judaism’s traditional seven-day mourning period on Tuesday. In the northern Israel town of Afula, Rabbi Shimon and Yehudit Rosenberg were set to be reunited with their orphaned grandson Moshe, whose parents – Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg – directed the Chabad House where Islamist terrorists held out for three days before Indian security forces launched a final operation to retake the center. Due to the crush of mourners at all hours of the day at the Rosenbergs’ home, they preferred to keep Moshe at another family member’s house ten minutes away with Sandra Samuel, the nanny who heroically saved him from the Chabad House.

Moshe Holtzberg and his nanny, Sandra Samuel, enjoy a moment in an outdoor garden at a relative’s home in Israel.
Moshe Holtzberg and his nanny, Sandra Samuel, enjoy a moment in an outdoor garden at a relative’s home in Israel.

On Monday, young Moshe’s demeanor seemed for a moment as distant from the attacks as his physical presence in the Migdal Haemek, Israel, home of his great-uncle, Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman. Held tight in the arms of Samuel, the boy pointed at various items in the house’s garden before being let down to explore for himself. With a smile extending from ear to ear, he toddled over to a figurine of an elephant and looked up to Samuel for approval. The only hint of discomfort came when the nanny would turn for a second to talk to a visitor: With an expression turning to worry, Moshe would cry, “Sandra! Sandra!”

Such has been the last week for a boy who every so often will call out in Hebrew for his mother and father. Things are certainly improving, said Grossman and Samuel, and now Moshe is able to sleep through the night. He still gets scared around strangers, though.

Moshe can once again sleep through the night. During certain activities, though, he calls for his mother and father.

In Israel, “he has everything he needs,” said Samuel, 44, sitting down for an interview while Moshe watched his favorite DVD with his great-aunt, “his booba, his mooma, his moomee. He has a garden and swing. He can’t [really] talk, but during some things, like playing chubby cheeks or patty-cake, he calls out ima or abba.”

It’ll be a long road ahead, admitted the nanny, who has indicated her willingness to stay in Israel as long as it takes.

“I’m here as long as the baby needs me,” she said. “I’ve been told not to worry about” passports and visas.

For the time being, Samuel and Moshe will live with his maternal grandparents, whose modest home in Afula was swamped with thousands of people coming to offer their condolences over the past week. Shimon Rosenberg and three of his sons welcomed visitors from a temporary tent erected in their backyard. Wearing a jacket ritually ripped at the Holtzbergs’ funeral in Kfar Chabad and sitting on a low couch made of mattresses, the rabbi urged people to translate their feelings of pain into a commitment to do good deeds and be better people.

Outside the tent, a stand beckoned Jewish men to put on tefillin. Trays of food were set up inside the house.

Back in Migdal Haemek, Samuel said she still hasn’t come to terms with the death of her employers, who became like family members to her. When her husband died two years ago, it was the Holtzbergs who covered the 20,000 rupee cost of the funeral.

“Even now, it’s not going through my mind that they’re no more,” said the woman. “If I had known something would happen, I would have tried to get them out as well. It’s all so senseless.”

By Joshua Runyan
Dec 9, 2008

the whole page now of this blog

is about india.
the post all the way on the bottom is when we were first looking for them.
i didn't even think it a possibility that they wouldn't be safe and healthy.

the whole world turned over; no wonder my blog's been overtaken by india

Two Lubavitchers in The Kitchen

It's not just a breath of fresh air--it's a whole spirit of life that is seeping into my being.

"I gotta do AskMoses at eleven."
"Beisi, beischa!"
"I once drove Ovadia completely mishugeneh on it."
"The Eibershter is.."

One of them hums a niggun.

"We got much more security put in for the Chabad House."
"Listen, what does being a shliach mean to you?"
"When people ask him if he went to the Rebbe's chasuna, he says 'No. For two reasons. 1, I didn't get an invitation and 2, I wasn't born yet.'"
"He lives on Montgomery Street."
"And listen! He's not a big guy--this is a shmecky shliach with fifty people!"
"It wasn't for lack of trying." "No, farkert!"
"She was the guest speaker in Colorado??" "Loi pochois v'loi yoiser"
"I couldn't believe it-she came back from the Kinnus Hashluchim with a tape of her speech!"
"He raises his voice, l'orer es habuchi."

One of them hums a niggun.

"Well, the vort is.."
"We set it up for the Chabad House like that."
"When I come to put on tefillin with the guy.."
"He says to me, b'poel, if something happens.."
"B'davka...es shtait...when we have our new Chabad House, b'ezras hashem.."

One of them hums a niggun.


I'm sighing with content. I'm with family.

Terror Attack

Sometimes, it's the attack that terrorizes me.
And sometimes, it's the terror that attacks me.
...which reminds me of this photo. Apparently, he too loves the Torah.



Monday, December 08, 2008


He said that he & his wife spent about 20 minutes searching for it last night but they could not find it. When I asked if he feels even a bit embarrassed, remorseful or apologetic, he assured me he does not.

One Effect of Rabbi Rosenberg's Faith

A free translation of a letter sent to Rabbi Rosenberg, father of the late Rivky Holtzberg, Hy’d:

Dear Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg,


I am writing this letter to you to give you a brief description of my broken heart.

My name is Hagar, and I am 29 years old. I live in the Bavli neighborhood of Tel Aviv. Like everyone else, I followed the story of the dreadful terror attack in India in which your daughter and son-in-law were murdered.

The pain, sorrow, and terrible suffering that I witnessed almost drove me out of my mind. The rivers of blood that had not yet dried were bad enough, but what really moved me the most was your image.

Yes-your image.

You stood before the entire nation, in pain yet proud, suffering yet whole, broken yet maintaining your faith.

I was born on a kibbutz and raised and educated with the Communist doctrine that religion is the root of all of the world’s evils, that Judaism was a bothersome drug that prevented us from integrating within the international community. For me, faith was an existential danger to science, an anathema to the thinking man.

My parents are Holocaust survivors, and I am their only daughter. I was born when they were already quite old. The thought that one day a new Hitler would arise and kill me only because I am a member of the Jewish race caused them to treat me with a certain harshness and to deny me any connection with the Jewish faith.

“Yiddishkeit existed in Poland,” my father would say, “and it remained there. You don’t need it, believe me.” But I didn’t believe him. And I rebelled.

I would get angry and then somehow reconcile myself to the situation. I really suffered. But my parents looked at it all as a “teenage crisis,” and even sent for a volunteer from the Hallel organization [an anti-religious organization that encourages Jewish youth to become secular] to convince me to desist. To desist from myself.

For several years, Rabbi Rosenberg, I’ve tried to desist, but something within me keeps pushing me to know. It pushes me to feel.

I had almost given in, and then Someone Above made sure that I would see you on all the news broadcasts. I saw your pure tears, mixed with the faith that “G-d gives and He takes away, and may His Name be blessed.” (Please forgive me for my paraphrasing.)

I immediately knew that this was the sign I had been waiting for all these years. It was the signal for me to enter the Jewish world. If this is how the bereaved are within Judaism, then I want to be a Jew.

And if this is how they weep and mourn in the Chabad movement, then today, more than at any time in my empty life, I would like to be connected to your power, Rabbi.

Connected to Chabad.

Just tell me one thing, my dear Rabbi Rosenberg, how do you ascend?

How do you reach the bright pure light from the depths of the pit where I find myself right now? Who will save me from myself? From my so-called career? From my foolish status in the business world, ruled by selfishness, power games, and conflict?

I feel so tainted by myself and my actions until now, from immersing myself in the materialism that surrounds me in my world, and from the almost impossible task of purifying myself from it.

I am Hagar. Like the Biblical Hagar, who was banished to the wilderness, my soul lies on the burning sands craving a little water, without which I will die of thirst – my tremendous thirst for the pure spirit.

But I am absolutely certain, my dear Rabbi, that I will return to the home of the righteous Avraham. Once again I will leave the barren world that I have been wandering through during the past three decades, and I will carry great comfort with me.

The comfort of the mourners over their dead on the one hand, and rising from the darkness on the other.

Thank you, my dear Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, for allowing me to be a Jew without fear, without hesitation, without having to look for excuses.

This week, Avraham’s Hagar began to do Teshuvah.

Please convey my condolences to your family, and a big hug from me to little Moishy.

In your merit, I became a Jew.



tis my laziest day of the year

hehe f'real!
The Holtzbergs went to great lengths to prepare a Sabbath meal. Every week, Rifka Holtzberg prepared 200 kosher chickens and made 400 pounds of Halla, a traditional Sabbath bread. (SOURCE)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Hopefully, these searches are leading to positive action...

parents of gavriel holzberg
song for gavriel and ricky holtzberg
parents of rivkah holzberg
holzberg november 2008 moishe
where is the child moshe holzberg
how is moshe holzberg feeling
moishe holtzberg: song

I like how Rafi G. said it--

Today we have discovered a courageous Defense Minister

Despite not having the courage to send an operation 10 minutes away from Israel to free captured soldier Gilad Shalit for the past 3 years....

Despite not having the strength or courage to defend southern Israel from the rocket attacks that happen daily from Gaza....

Despite the lawlessness reigning around the country in various forms - mafia, illegal construction, in the government itself there is plenty, and more...

Despite all that...

Our courageous and law upholding Defense Minister has proven his mettle today by upholding the law and violently throwing out a few Jews who bought a house in Hebron. Israel is a strong nation that follows the decisions of the Supreme Court. Israel will not allow people to break the law.

Thank you Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak for restoring our confidence in the integrity of the government.

Hope for Baby Aliza!

Gosh, am I really reporting good news?
-pinch pinch-
Ye, G-d, this sarcasm is, indeed, the protest of a weak one.

From VosIzNeias: .....several weeks ago they said they saw a major improvement; Aliza responded to voice commands. Her family so amazed they took out the video camera.

On the video, little Aliza is asked to move her arm and raise her legs multiple times. She responds to all commands.

Hindy Brycks, her occupational therapist said that there is evidence of brain activity.

Her nurse, who has been with her everyday, said Aliza responds to commands on a daily basis. "It's like you wake up from a dream. Yesterday she couldn't do certain things, today she can move. You speak to her and it's like she's talking back to you.

The family is well aware that this is a long process, but they just wanted to remind everyone how far their little girl has come. "I was amazed, I was really speechless," said Esther Schwab.

Baruch Hashem! And let's hear some more good news...especially for Rivka bas Sheindel.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

Song for the Holtzbergs HY"D

Composed and played by Benny Hershcovich...for the Kedoshim

Six years, dedicated over to you.
A Chabad House in India for every Jew
Warm hearts and smiles, given to all,
Shluchim heeding to the Rebbes call.

Our minds left numb, cant figure it out.
Our hearts so torn, we scream and shout.
A two year old boy now left orphaned
Youre supposed to watch over them.

With Tracht gut - zain gut we did go.
Is this out of the rule book, like a summers snow?

Do we stop? Do we let the terrorists win?
Or perhaps we get together start it again

Do we increase what they were doing double as much?
Ad Mosai?? Enough is enough!!!

Chorus: Oh Rebbe Show me, tell me why
Your Shluchim, so given over needed to die.
Their blood Our wounds heal and mend
Please Rebbe, make it end.

They will shoot, they will kill and they will darken night
But well never stop marching forward, spreading your light.
Till the corners of the world will shout as one.
Times up! Let Moshiach come!!

Yiddishkeit will explode, in their memories sake.
We will move, we will build whatever it takes.
Though we mourn and we cry, with so much pain.
Their Neshamos wont have gone in vain

And very soon we will understand -
when every Chabad house is taken to the Promised Land.
The Shofar will blow, Moshiach is here.
The Rebbe standing with his Shluchim oh so dear.
Attached to 770, a building so high

When will these searches end?

'holzberg gabi rivka'
moshe holzberg will lives
gabi and rivka holzberg child died
how many children does gavriel holzberg
rabbi & rivka tortured
letter to moishele from india
nariman house brutalities rivka
moishele india
60 hours of hostage torture done by pak terrorists: by rabbijacob
chabad levaya of gabi holzberg
killed norma shvartzblat
gavriel and rifka holtzberg and torture

Footsteps of Moshiach? Anyone?

Thank You, Blogger.

Thank you, Blogger, for introducing me to my Torah-study partner.

Thanks for giving me direction and purpose;
thanks for holding my hand in comfort.
Thanks for coaching me into change and growth;
thanks for encouraging me when I despaired.
Thanks for teaching me how to heal my soul;
thanks for making me aware that I must share my knowledge with others.
Thanks for providing me with the tools to repair this damaged world;
thanks for directing my sight to the path I'm to tread.
Thanks for handing me a match in this frightfully dark world;
thanks for showing me how to spread that light to my surroundings.

Thank you, Blogger, for introducing me to my Torah-study partner.
A Worthy One Thousandth, Indeed.

ברוך אתה ה' אלוקינו מלך העולם מתיר אסורים

I froze when reciting it.

i received this now on gchat:

"Gabby was my next door neighbor and Rivky was my second cousin, and my closest friend is in Mumbai"

Joy, Building Chabad Houses, Self Sacrifice

Usually, we learn Tanya. Today, I wanted to learn something special for Mumbai. I searched for a "mesirus nefesh sicha" and this is the first one I found. I gasped when I saw all the issues that the Rebbe addresses here in this Sicha from Simchas Torah 5747. We Want Moshiach Now!

Volume 33

Chabad Houses -- Everywhere

Simchas Torah -- A Time of Consolidation

Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah provides the proper time and setting for all the themes and accomplishments of the month of Tishrei to be absorbed and integrated into the person's Divine service throughout the coming year.

At the close of Simchas Torah we enter a period which personifies the Biblical narrative: "And Ya'akov went on his way" (Bereishis 32:2); we must now apply the lofty principles of the special days of Tishrei to the mundane matters of the regular days of the year.

On Simchas Torah we conclude the annual cycle of weekly Torah readings in the synagogue and we immediately begin the Torah anew by reading the first chapter of Bereishis:

In the beginning G-d created heaven and earth.

(Bereishis 1:1)

This juxtaposition of conclusion to beginning indicates that we must take the just completed Torah and apply it to matters of "heaven" and earth" and all their host, throughout the rest of the year.

It is therefore apropos that on Simchas Torah we should propose and accept good resolutions for the coming year.

Even more appropriate is the fact that the resolutions which we joyously accept on Simchas Torah carry with them the attribute of "bursting all restrictions."

A Time of Infinite Joy

On Simchas Torah we attain the apex of joy, for then we reach the culmination of the holiday of rejoicing. It is the nature of a joyous temperament and happy mood to disregard standing limitations or restrictions and to break out and rise above the set boundaries which meter, restrict or control.

Consequently, everything we do on Simchas Torah in the spirit of joy is done in a manner which "breaks the fences." Anytime you accept a commitment for the future you are circumventing the limitations of time by saying, "I commit now to do something later." When this commitment is in the form of a positive resolution accepted on Simchas Torah you add the special quality of Simchas Torah and ensure that your Divine service during the year will transcend the normal order and even go beyond the future, hoped for, measure.

A Time to Rise Higher and Higher

A Jew always ascends in his Divine service: "They go from strength to strength," so that what today is considered "great" will tomorrow be only mediocre, et. al. The transcendental power of Simchas Torah generates today, the potential to rise above all the future higher levels, in a manner of "bursting the fences."

This is true in all areas of Divine service and especially true in those areas of Divine service which essentially characterize the power of "breaking the fences."

Breach All Restrictions -- Spread Chassidus Everywhere

The Previous Rebbe initiated certain spheres of educational work to effect the spreading of Torah, Yiddishkeit and the wellsprings of Chassidus. For these tasks he appointed faithful emissaries whose job it was to carry out the necessary activities. All of this outreach work may be categorized as "bursting the fences," for it reveals the holy light of Torah and Yiddishkeit as well as the wellsprings of Chassidus everywhere, and even in the farthest "outside," beyond all measure.

The G-dly radiance also illuminates the gentile nations of the world, who become acquainted with Torah, when it is translated into the 70 languages. These efforts should start with information directed to the nations of the world to teach them to observe the Seven Noachide Laws, which will serve as a preparation for the promise of the future.

So that all the nations of the earth shall know the L-rd is G-d, there is none else. (I Kings 8:60)

Consequently, Simchas Torah is the propitious time to accept good resolutions in the areas of disseminating Torah and Yiddishkeit, as well as the wellsprings of Chassidus, to the whole world. The approach that Simchas Torah generates is to go above limitations and burst all fences, in order to generate a new creation: "In the beginning G-d created...."

A Time to Build Chabad Houses

All of these activities will be much stronger when they are associated with established houses of prayers, Torah study, charity and good deeds -- preferably one edifice which encompasses all these activities -- such as the "Bais Ohel Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch" -- "Chabad Houses."

Chassidus explains that the broad area of human needs encompasses food, clothing and shelter. The house one lives in symbolically descends from the loftiest, transcendental state and therefore surrounds the person from a distance, costs more than food and clothing and lasts much longer. Thus, the house would metaphorically represent the condition of bursting out of any restrictions.

Spreading Torah and Chassidus also may take on several forms: A -- Torah may be taught intensely and internally, similar to food. B -- It may be taught abstractly, enveloping the person in a broad radiance of Torah and only then effecting proper absorption of details. C -- Torah may be presented as the revelation of a supernal radiance which cannot be captured, metered or defined. This third form would be similar to a house which encircles a person from a distance; it is the most effective approach.

This Bears Further Elucidation

When you settle in a community with the purpose of spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit there, you might put your effort into teaching Torah individually. You could visit every family and give them individual attention, and speak to them in a personal manner in accordance with their needs, talents and character. This approach represents a limited or metered radiation of light.

There is, however, another form of illumination that transcends the limitation of measure. By building a house of Torah, prayer, charity and acts of lovingkindness, you will not need to go and seek out each individual Jew, for they will all flock to the center, to pray, to study Torah or to contribute to charity.

This approach would be analogous to the oft-mentioned parable given by the Previous Rebbe of a lantern-lighter who walks the streets of the village and kindles the street lamps.

A Time to Kindle Light

When you arrive in a place of (spiritual) darkness, where so far the light of holiness has not penetrated, the best advice is to kindle a lantern in the middle of the street. By nature, people will be attracted and will gather around the light so that you will not need to go knocking on doors to seek out the populace and to illuminate their lives. (They may not open the doors). Here they will gravitate to the light on their own, from such places that you did not even imagine.

This analogy will hold true for a house of Torah, prayer and charity and then your success in disseminating Torah and Yiddishkeit will be much greater.

A Time to Expand

Thus, now is the right time to encourage the establishment of "Chabad Houses." Wherever there are Jewish communities Chabad Houses should be built, as soon as possible. Existing Chabad Houses should be expanded, by adding a room or another story. This will increase the efforts quantitatively and qualitatively.

Some explanation is in place to justify the seriousness and necessity of this project to everyone.

Years ago when the emissaries of Lubavitch began building Chabad Houses a cloud of doubt hung over the efforts -- "Could they succeed?" After all:

One who girds the sword shall not boast as one who ungirds the sword. (I Melochim 20:11)

Now, after 30 years of activities in the areas of spreading Torah, Yiddishkeit and the wellsprings of Chassidus to the "outside," we have seen the success of these efforts. Therefore, wherever a Chabad House will be built now there is an absolute guarantee that they will see great and overwhelming success.

The experiences of the past 30 years have taught how to overcome all possible difficulties and obstacles.

It goes without saying that expansion of existing Chabad Houses will continue to expand the success that has been seen in the same Chabad House.

So it boils down to the will and determination of the people, to join in this project with the designated emissaries who carry out the mission of the Previous Rebbe and Nassi of our generation, for now the path of the Shaliach is paved and clearly defined and everyone can walk it proudly.

To this project we may apply the Biblical dictum: "And put Me to the test with that" (Malachi 3:10).

A Time for Devotion and Self-Sacrifice

Whoever will commit himself, with devotion and self-sacrifice, to carry out this mission of spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit by building Chabad Houses, will be shown success and will be convinced, for he will see the positive results, himself.

May it be the will of the Al-mighty that we utilize this auspicious day to accept these resolutions regarding the establishment of Chabad Houses in every place. The joy of Simchas Torah will eliminate any limitations -- so that the entire project will move ahead bursting with joy, and will not be stopped or impeded for any reason, and from the outset it will move by "going from above," which will bring even more success.

The Time of Moshiach

This will lead us to the time of the fulfillment of the prophecy: "The breaker -- Dovid King Moshiach -- will come up before them" (Michah 2:13). Then the "house" will be the Bais Hamikdosh in its perfect form. Then, too, will we attain the perfect revelation of G-dliness in the world:

So that all the nations of the earth shall know that the L-rd is G-d, there is none else.


The glory of the L-rd shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together for the mouth of the L-rd has spoken it.

(Yeshayahu 40:5)

May it also breach the limitation of time so that it comes soon -- speedily and truly in our time -- in a split second so that "they are redeemed immediately."

I Don't Want To See These Searches!!

jem holzberg mumbai
torah tear chabad mumbai saintly
holzberg massacre
chabad torture
tribute gavriel rivky holzberg
picture of moshe holzberg
holzberg mumbai ceremony
song dedicated to rabbi holzberg
kislev 2008

Nor these. Nor these. Nor these.




I have been thinking all week about Moishe Holtzberg, the beautiful two-year old son of the Rabbi and Rebbitzen of Chabad House in Mumbai. His face will simply not leave me. Maybe because I love small children, and he looks so much like some of those in my own family. Or maybe it's the mother in me that imagines what it will be like for the people around him to hear him cry "Aba" "Ima" and not be able to explain or comfort him. Or maybe it's because I lost my own father when I was small, and I remember the bottomless, uncomprehending anguish that comes with such a loss at such an early age.

And then I thought: He has all those wonderful family members who will bring him up in a cocoon of love and warmth. And in twenty years from now, I might be walking down the street in Jerusalem and pass a bearded young yeshiva student, learning to be a Chabad rabbi like his father. I wouldn't even know it was him; that it was the little Moishe who became part of my life and took a part of my heart. And so now, forever and ever, I will have to look at every yeshiva student as if he was Moishe, grown up,carrying on in the footsteps of his parents.

I will have to love without cause.

Shabbat Shalom,



The Indian, American & Israeli Ambassadors:

To the community shul,

who is the only one WORLDWIDE that did not contact their local Chabad to express condolences [and did not even mention the terror attacks in Mumbai in their Shabbat sermon}...

...it's hard to be dan lechaf zechus.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

He warned her that the new JEM video about the Holtzbergs would make her cry. She said she still wants to watch it and anyhow, "I have no more tears", she claimed.

Later, I heard her cry.

And The Search Continues...

rivky holzberg, children
holzberg burial
gavriel holzberg parents
torture of rabbi holzberg
moishele holtzberg
was rivky holzberg killed first
parents of rivka holzberg
rivky holzbergs father
photos mumbai graphic
rivki holzberg
rebbe picture mumbai
mumbai chabad house
gaby et ricky holtzberg
photo gavriel holzberg
holzberg tortured
rifka holzberg totured
rabbi jacobson on mumbai
holtzberg tortures
was rivka holzberg killed first
rabbi gabi and rivkah holzberg children
blogspot mumbai chabad


I'm waiting for searches (that lead to my blog) such as...

omg moshiach is here
emunah and bitachon worked
only good for universe
see the avos
reality of moshiach
no more golus
torah class with moshe rabbeinu
find others with same neshama like myself
mashiach arrived
why did some blogs close
where to dispose of medications
dealing with "missing golus"
moshiach moshiach moshiach (not the song)

Letter to our dear "nephew," Moishe'le--

Dear Moishe,
My wound is fresh, my tears have not yet dried, and my heart is broken but still I want to wish you a Happy Birthday. I thought of you on your 2nd Birthday and so did thousands of other Mommies. Your mommy was probably planning a beautiful birthday party for you in your Chabad house, singing "Happy Birthday" at your Shabbos table while you clapped in delight as all the Shabbos guests joined in, smiling and admiring your absolute cuteness. Then she and Tatti would lovingly hug you and shower you with millions of kisses and bentch you in front of everyone that you should grow to be a Chassidishe boy a Yiras Shomayim and a soldier in Hashem's Army and the Rebbe's army, but the Aibishter had other plans for your parents and the Birthday was not a happy one. Your Upshernish, Bar Mitzvah and every birthday in between and after will be also your heilige parents Yartzeit! Moishele you are the Mumbai Miracle, thanks to Sandra and the Aibishter who guarded and saved you. You are here because you will be the living legacy for your parents and carry on all that they stood for. You have their koichois within you! Although you are way too young to understand, one day soon you will realize your parents are kedoishim and gave their lives Al Kiddush Hashem Mamosh. They lived in India, far from friends and Bubbies and Zeides and relatives. They sacrificed all comforts of living back home where kosher food, Chassidishe education, and decent living surroundings are readily available, all to be able to bring Yiddishkeit to any person traveling or living in India. Moishele, in the five years your parents lived there do you know how many lives they've touched? So many people put on Tefillin, light shabbos candles, and keep kosher all because of your mommy and tatty. So many people have written stories and letters about your parents and how special and amazing they are. People around the world even those who don't know them, love them and feel pain and at a loss of words that they are gone. For me, dear Moishele I have no words of comfort to express to you, that you have lost both your parents. I feel as if I lost a brother and sister. I feel as if you are my nephew. My children feel as if you are one of them. Moishele, the only words of comfort that we can offer you is that wherever you go in this world whether it is anywhere in the United States, China, Russia, Australia, Africa, Israel, Canada, or anywhere in Europe you will always have thousands of "mommies and tatties" "brothers and sisters" who will welcome you with open arms and loving hearts just like your parents did for every single person. In memory of your parents we will all fight harder and stronger in the Rebbe's army. We will do more and encourage others to do more. In the last few days thousands of people around the world said extra tehillem, did an extra mitzvah, lit Shabbos candles, accepted tefillin, and determined to do extra acts of kindness all in the z'chus of your parents. You see, your parents continue doing
shlichus even from shomayim, they don't give up. Moishele when I tuck my kinderlach into bed at night I will think of you. When I read them a story, say Shema, and turn off the light I will think of you. When I hug my youngest son Shneur Zalman who is your age, your image will also be in my mind. Your parents were a part of MY family and you will always be MY family. You may have lost your biological parents but you have over 3500 "mommies and tatties" around the globe. We love you Moishele and you will always be on our minds. May Hashem avenge the blood of your parents and send us the Geulah immediately, so you can be reunited with your real mommy and tatty once again.

With lots of love and heartfelt emotion,
Shlucha and Mother,
Tzippy Weiss
Miami Lakes, Fl

Sabra: He will spend his Upshernish, Bar Mitzvah and every birthday in between and after WITH HIS PARENTS. Say "amen"!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Rebbe Who Saved a Village

For a while, it seemed that all was lost... then came a leader's bold response to the crippling tragedy.

Editor's note: In light of the recent tragedy which struck the Chabad-Lubavitch community, we find the following account, penned more than fifty years ago, particularly poignant--and most relevant.
What follows is a free translation of a story that appeared in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot on Iyar 4, 5717 (May 5, 1957). We have left the article basically as it was originally published despite the fact that it contains some factual inaccuracies, because of its vivid portrayal of the mood of the time and the Israeli reporter's impression of the people and the events he describes.

Kfar Chabad in its early years - detail from a painting by Zalman Kleinman
On the eve of Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) last year, as the bonfires were being raised on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, the lights were burning also in Tzafrir (Kfar Chabad), the Chabad-Lubavitcher village in the Lod Valley.

For four days the village had been in deep mourning and grievous anguish, the likes of which the Lubavitcher chassidim had not known in many years. On that black and bitter night, a band of fedayeen entered the village. They made their way to the synagogue of the local agricultural school, where the school's young students were in the midst of the evening maariv prayers, and raked the room with fire from their Karl-Gustav rifles. They reaped a cruel blood-harvest: five children and one teacher were killed and another ten children wounded; their pure, holy blood soaking the siddurim that fell from their hands and splattering the synagogue's white-washed walls.

The village chassidim, brawny, broad-shouldered Russian Jews with thick black beards and bushy brows, stood dumbfounded before the terrible scene that met their eyes. A pogrom in Israel! A pogrom in Chabad! they whispered, and bit their lips in rage. The women stood there too, hefty, handsome Russian matrons, wringing their hands and murmuring to themselves in Russian and Hebrew, their eyes emitting an endless stream of tears.

This was not a common scene for the Lubavitchers. These Chassidim, who had survived the pogroms in Czar Nikolai's Russia and whom the Red Army could not intimidate, who had been banished to the frozen plains of Siberia, whose backs decades in Stalin's prisons and camps could not bow, now stood stooped and despairing. Now, that the blow had hit home in the heart of the Jewish state.

In the center of the village stood Rabbi Avraham Maayor who had been a high-ranking officer in the Russian Army. Avraham Maayor, of whom legend told that he calmly stood and sang chassidic melodies as a band of soldiers beat him with the butts of their rifles, now stood crying out at the heavens: "Master of the Universe, Why?! How have the children sinned?!"

Despair and dejection pervaded the village, and began to eat away at its foundations. There were some who saw what happened as a sign that their dream of a peaceful life in the Holy Land was premature. Perhaps we should disband, seek refuge in safer havens? The village was slowly dying.

The Village Waits
But it was clear to all that before any decisive move would be made, the Rebbe had to be consulted. Nothing would be done without his knowledge and consent. All awaited the telegram from "there," from New York, but the telegram was inexplicably not forthcoming. Four days had passed since the terror had struck. A lengthy telegram had immediately been dispatched informing the Rebbe of all the details of the tragedy, and an answer was expected that very night. But the Rebbe was silent. What happened, many wondered, why doesn't he respond? Has he not a word of comfort for his stricken followers?

A telegram from the Rebbe, it should be clarified, is an integral part of Chabad-Chassidic life across the globe. Every problem, every decision pertaining to the communal or private life of the Lubavitcher chassid is referred to the Rebbe's headquarters in Brooklyn, and whatever the reply, that is what is done. And the answer is always forthcoming, whether by regular post, express mail, or emergency telegram-depending upon the urgency of the matter-and always short, succinct, and to the point.

Why, then, is the Rebbe's answer on such a fateful matter tarrying? The village elders had no explanation, and, as the hours and days went by, the question continued to plague their tormented souls, and their anguish and despair weighed increasingly heavier on their hearts.

The Telegram
And then, four days after the tragedy, the telegram arrived. The news spread throughout the village: A telegram from the Rebbe! The telegram has arrived! The entire village, men, women and children, assembled in the village square to hear the Rebbe's reply.

And the Rebbe was characteristically succinct. The telegram contained a single sentence-three Hebrew words-but these three words sufficed to save the village from disintegration and its inhabitants from despair. Behemshech habinyan tinacheimu, wrote the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. "By your continued building will you be comforted."

The Chassidim of Kfar Chabad now had a firm grasp on their future: they knew what they had to do. They must build! The Rebbe said to build! And that by their continued building they will be comforted! That very night the village elders held a meeting to discuss how the Rebbe's directive might be implemented. After a short discussion, a decision was reached: a vocational school will be built where children from disadvantaged backgrounds will be taught the printing trade. On the very spot where the blood was spilled, the building will be raised.

The Rebbe Knew
The next morning, all residents of the village gathered at the empty lot adjoining the agricultural school and began clearing and leveling the land in preparation for the building. The joy was back in their eyes.

In the weeks that followed, letters arriving from relatives and friends in New York described what had transpired there in those four endless days in which the village had awaited the Rebbe's reply.

For the entire month of Nissan, the month of the redemption, it is the Rebbe's custom to devote himself entirely to the service of the Creator, reducing his contact with his Chassidim to a minimum. Rare is the individual who is granted an audience with the Rebbe in this period, and all but the most urgent correspondence is postponed until the close of the auspicious month.

When the month of Nissan ends, a festive farbrengen (Chassidic gathering) is held at the Rebbe's headquarters on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, marking the Rebbe's resumption of his involvement with his thousands of followers across the globe. The Rebbe speaks for hours, his talks interspersed with bouts of song and l'chaims, often until the wee hours of the morning.

That year, the farbrengen marking the close of Nissan was also held. The tragic news from the Holy Land had arrived in New York moments before the farbrengen was scheduled to begin, but the Rebbe's secretaries decided to withhold the news from him until after the gathering. But what his assistants did not tell him, his heart seems to have told him. That night, the Rebbe spoke of Jewish self-sacrifice and martyrdom al kiddush Hashem (for the sanctification of G-d's name), about the rebuilding of the Holy Land, and the redemption of Israel. Tears flowed from his eyes as he spoke. All night he spoke and wept, sang and wept, and wept still more.

Why is the Rebbe weeping? Only a few of those present could guess-those who knew about the telegram from Kfar Chabad.

The farbrengen ended. The chassidim dispersed to their homes, and the Rebbe retired to his room. With great trepidation, two of the Rebbe's closest chassidim knocked on the Rebbe's door and handed him the telegram from Israel. The Rebbe sank into his chair. He locked his door and did not open it for three days. After three days of utter seclusion, he called his secretary and dictated his reply: Behemshech habinyan tinacheimu. By your continued building you will be comforted.

The chassidim of Kfar Chabad have fulfilled their Rebbe's request. Without the aid of philanthropists or foundations, they have raised 50,000 Israeli pounds, and today, one year after the tragedy, the new building of the vocational school is completed.

Tomorrow, as the citizens of Israel celebrate their eighth Independence Day, the chassidim of Kfar Chabad will hold a farbrengen and relate, again and again, the story of the three-word telegram that saved the village.