Sunday, 7 December 2008

Don't Forget the "Guests"


The tragedy in Mumbai has affected each and every one of us. In particular the world has focused on two special people that martyred their lives, sanctifying the Name of G-d in public – i.e. Rabbi Gavriel Noach and Rivka Holtzberg HY”D. These two Shluchim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe set up a Chabad house taking care of the needs of Jews who came to India. Their work has no price to it. One cannot put a price on such efforts of goodness and kindness.

Have we forgotten, however, the “guests”?! There were another 4 holy souls involved in this tragic event however, and it is vital that we not forget these people either. Indeed, they too left behind children. Two left behind wives, and one left behind grandchildren too. The children left behind range from 3 months and upwards. They too are without their parents who gave of themselves selflessly to the Jewish people.

Indeed, Rabbi Aryeh Leibish Teitlebaum was in India to give a Hechsher so that the Jews would be able to eat reliable Kosher food. He placed a Tallis over one of those who had been killed. He had 8 children. His eldest – who had just had his Barmitzvah insisted on eulogising his father at the funeral. He was respected as a Torah authority and Posek.

Rabbi BenTzion Chroman was there for Kashrut purposes as well. Someone who was said to always have a smile on his face, he had thought to spend time learning Torah before leaving and returning back to Israel. He was found dead… slumped over his Talmud. He used every spare moment involved in Torah study. He died literally – in the tent of Torah.

Yochev Orpaz was 62 years old and mother of 4. She was visiting her children and grandchildren. Being in the Chabad centre, meant that Judaism was a priority in her life.

Norma-Rabinovitch Shvartzblat – 50 years old – was in India for a few months just before making Aliyah this past Tuesday. She would be joining her children here. Again, we can see, that as she was at a Chabad centre, Judaism was a priority for her too.

These other 4 holy souls sanctified the Name of G-d NO LESS than the Shluchim of the Rebbe. It may be that they did so even more. Who of us can tell?!

The Baal Shem Tov teaches that sometimes a soul descends to this world for 70 or 80 years just to do a material favour for another Jew and how much more so a spiritual favour.

A soul can be sent into this world for 70 years – JUST to do a favour for another Jew. Does this make them any less important – just because they may have performed just ONE Mitzvah (all the more so when every Jew is filled with Mitzvas like a pomegranate is filled with seeds)? While we need to acknowledge and see the greatness of those who are actively involved in the Rebbe’s efforts in spreading Yiddishkeit and helping others, we must never fail to see the greatness of another Jew – no matter who they are, or what they have achieved. Would the Rebbe have thought otherwise? Would he have given any less attention to these other souls – just because these other Jews may not have been his personal Shluchim?!

Rabbi Yosef Karo – the author of the Shulchan Aruch – who lived a lengthy life of almost 100 years – regretted that he had never merited to die Al Kiddush Hashem – sanctifying the Name of G-d. He, the author of the accepted code of Jewish law today – and regarded as the absolute authority of Torah law (today), bemoaned not being able to sanctify G-d’s Name in public.

Yet… Rabbi Teitlebaum did. Rabbi Chroman did. Yocheved Orpaz did. And so did Norma Rabinovtich-Shvartzblat. This certainly says something for the greatness of these souls – even if we would only imagine that they were here in this world – just to help ONE other Jew…. (and even if this was only one time!) There is no reason that the funerals of these holy Jews should have been any less publicized or any less attended than the funerals of the Rebbe’s shluchim.

Let us stop our daily activity and do something in *these* Jews’ merits, and let us focus on helping their families too.

Perhaps, when we see the greatness of even a “simple” Jew, we will awaken the kindnesses of G-d above, to see that every one of us can acknowledge the greatness of every other single Jew – that every Jew counts, no matter how “simple” we think they are.

It’s easy to mourn for those we regard in high-regard. But perhaps, what we need more than ever – right now – is to appreciate the value of every single Jew.

For more pictures see: PICTURES

The videos below give us more insight into the value of every single person who was affected so tragically by the Mumbai horror. It is not just they who were affected however, it is each of us.

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