Thursday, July 19, 2012

A new class opened in the Heavenly Beit Midrash

Yesterday, a new class arrived to the Heavenly Beit Midrash. Five Israeli tourists holidaying in Europe, who died על קידוש השם, together with their guide and bus driver tragically had their vacation end in tragedy.  And the Maggid Shiur in that new class would be none other than Rav Elyashiv זצ"ל.

Rav Elyashiv was escorted to his final resting place by quarter of a million mourners. The tourists in Bulgaria, like Eliahu HaNavi, were taken in a chariot of fire.

I don't know anything about the identities of the victims of yesterday's terrorist attack, but if they are admitted to the World to Come together with Rav Elyashiv, together they will be able to answer the questions, "Did you set aside time to learn Torah" and "Did you see My Alps".

What to me was tragic about yesterday's news, besides the loss of life and families in morning, was the divisions within Israeli society that were highlighted. While driving home yesterday, the radio stations that I tuned in to all had a dedicated broadcast to the breaking news story. The only problem was that some stations were talking about Rav Elyashiv and the legacy he left behind without mentioning terrorism in Bulgaria, while other stations talked about the tragedy in Bulgaria, without mentioning the death of one of the leaders of our generation.

It seemed like the radio stations were broadcasting to audiences who lived in different worlds from each other. Unfortunately, that is the reality of today's society in Israel, we have broken into different groups living completely different existences. Not so much "Sinat Chinam" as just oblivious to the reality that other people live in.

Rav Elyashiv married in the courtyard of Merkaz HaRav; the shadchan that introduced him to his wife was Rav Tzvi Yeuda Kook.
Today it is almost inconceivable that a student of Rav Elyashiv would even visit Merkaz, let alone meet his Bershet through one of the Rabbanim of that Yeshiva.

I didn't attend the funeral last night (I was at a shiur on Web Yeshiva - highly recommended), but from the pictures it looks like it was a sea of black hats,with very few people with other headcoverings. Similarly, at Rav Mordechai Eliahu's funeral 2 years ago, there were few people there without a Kipa Sruga.

As we approach Rosh Chodesh Av and the 9 days, we should all take a few minutes to stop and think about "the other", those people  who don't think or dress the same as us.
As soon as their news is our news and their pain is our pain, maybe, just maybe their joy will be our joy as we dance together in Jerusalem this Tisha B'Av.


Rabbi Sedley said...

I'm glad you are blogging again. Yet another really excellent post. (I agree - the webyeshiva shiur is highly recommended ;-))
I think (from memory) that the Shadchan was Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook, not his son.
But remember that there were no crocheted kippot at Rav Kook's funeral either! Merkaz HaRav (and Rav Kook) were as 'Chareidi' as anyone today. It is ironic that the world points to the strong connection between Rav Elyashiv and Rav Kook as if it were another one of his 'Zionist' failings that he managed to do teshuva for.
For most of his life Rav Elyashiv worked for the Rabbanut (i.e. government) and one might have expected him to be much more open to the 'medina' that he seems to have been.
Oh well. I hope the shiur in Shamayim is amazing.

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