This morning, wrapped in a blue and white striped tallit reminiscent of the Israeli flag, I led a shiva minyan in Baltimore but my mind was almost six thousand miles away in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem. Like many of you I woke this morning to a horrific image of blood streaked across the floor of a synagogue and a worshiper still in tallit and tefillin lying dead on that floor. He was one of four men (all rabbis) murdered this morning during shaharit services by Palestinian terrorists.
This terror attack is, as are all that happen in Israel, very personal to all of us. Two weeks ago on Shabbat morning at Chizuk Amuno I spoke about Israel. Here is a short excerpt:
“I know the truth of what a bus bombing looks like – the twisted metal, the paradox of body parts and broken bodies and belongings lying nearby seemingly untouched. I know the smell of a Palestinian terror attack on Jews. If I live to be 120 I will know for certain the smell of an exploded bomb – the mixture of cordite and blood and burnt fibers and paper and flesh. I know for certain the sound of an explosion, followed by wailing, followed by the cries of sirens. I know for certain what it is to see an empty chair where once sat a passionate lover of Israel and the Jewish people. I know what an Israeli grave looks like with its Hebrew characters piled with stones, adorned with keepsakes, pink carnations strewn over it on Yom Hazikaron. These I know.
I know that because it is mine. I feel the pain and the human cost of the conflict in Israel. I passionately love Israel for all that she is and all that she could be. That is the core of my relationship with the land of Israel and the state of Israel.”
You can find the complete text here:
We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Twersky, Levine, Kopinsky, and Goldberg families on their losses. We offer our wishes for refuah sheleimah, a complete recovery, to the dozen people who were injured in the attack. And we pray once again, always, for shalom al Yisrael, peace in Israel.
“As a mother comforts her children
So I Myself will comfort you, says Adonai.
And you will find peace in Jerusalem.
None shall hurt or destroy in all My holy Mountain
Says the Creator whose throne is Heaven,
Says Adonai who will also find peace
And consolation in Jerusalem.”