To our dear brothers and sisters:
We are all still in great shock and mourning over the loss of so many of our brethren in Eretz Yisroel. Hashem yinkom damam – may Hashem avenge their blood! We cry for their families, and for the many who suffered injury in the Shmini Atzeres Simchas Torah attack, may they have a complete and speedy recovery. We daven for the safety of all members of the Am Hakodesh in the Eretz Hakodesh, and particularly the soldiers who are in the front lines of the war, whether on the southern border of Eretz Yisroel or on the north. We feel the pain of the numerous individuals and families who have been displaced from their homes and suffered severe losses. And while we welcome the release of some of the
hostages, we can know no rest until every one of them is freed from the clutches of their barbaric captors.
Across the globe, we are horrified by the alarming explosion of antisemitism all across Europe and even in the Malchus Shel Chesed of the United States. Most of the targets of anti-Jewish hate are anshei shlomeinu, fellow members of the Torah community. And it is particularly troubling that so many of the younger generation, in college campuses across America, have embraced the agenda of our greatest enemies.
Clearly, Hakodosh Boruch Hu is sending us a message. We cannot be complacent in the face of so many tzoros. We must ask ourselves mah Hashem Elokeinu shoeil mei’imanu – What does Hashem want from us? Nachpeso drocheinu v’nachkora v’nashuva ad Hashem – We must make serious introspection of our ways and return to Hashem!
Let us focus on three broad areas: (1) Limud HaTorah, (2) Tefillah, and (3) Tznius.
1. Limud HaTorah: Chazal teach us that Torah is our protective shield against the murderous designs of our enemies. We need to strengthen our own Torah learning, both in quantity and quality, and increase our level of support for our yeshivos and Torah scholars.
2. Tefilah: The Rishonim explain that often-times the reason a tzorah is brought upon Klal Yisroel is to awaken us to reach out to Hakodosh Boruch Hu in fervent prayer. Let us now enhance our avodah she’bileiv, service of the heart, through greater kavanah, coming to shul on time for tefillah b’tzibur, refraining from talking during davening, and offering special tefilos on behalf of Acheinu kol bais Yisroel.
3. Tznius: The Torah hakedoshah singles out ervas davar, a lack of modesty, as the cause of Hashem removing His protective presence from our camp, Rachmana litzlan. Both men and women alike need to strengthen themselves and their families in the areas of tznius and kedushah.
May Hakodosh Boruch Hu extend the protective powers of Torah learning upon all of Klal Yisroel, may He hear our tefilos and deliver us from the hands of our enemies, may He look down upon our machaneh and see kedushah, and may we have bitachon in the fact that Hashem Ish Milchamah, He is the One who will do battle for us and bless us with sholom.
Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America