Thursday, 17 March 2011

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!

The tragedy in Ithamar just a few days ago (last Friday evening) needs no introduction to anyone who keeps up with world events. 

What many people might not be aware of are some of the follow ups after this tragedy. For example did you know that the PA may well be in the process right now of naming a square in "honour" of the terrorists - for the horror (our language) ("success" - their language) that they have perpetrated? Or did you know that Iran Praises the Savage Murders:

"Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency told Iranians that the attackers “managed to kill all the five Zionists who were in the house…. The Palestinian combatant has returned home safely after conducting his mission successfully." - Arutz Sheva

But many don't know something else... While there were those looking to destroy innocent people for their own delight, one young innocent boy - Yoav Fogel HY"D (11 years old) saw life differently. In fact, following a Torah way of life - learning it and taking it to heart, he had placed a special card above his bed. Perhaps he looked at it before he went to sleep, and again when he awoke - and perhaps a few times during the day too. Being by his bed - one can imagine how important it was to him.

On this beautiful card (included in picture above), the following is written:

"A Prayer about loving one's friends

May it be Your will Hashem, my G-d and the G-d of my fathers that You should make me meritorious to be able to love every single Jew as I love myself, and to fulfill in the best possible way the Mitzvah of 'Love your fellow as you love yourself'

And so too may it be Your will my G-d and the G-d of my fathers, that You should put it into the hearts of my friends that they should love me with a powerful love and that I should be accepted and favoured by everyone. And I should be beloved and charming and find favour in all those who see me.

Just as water mirrors a face, so too does the heart of one man mirror the heart of the other. And everything should be for the sake of Heaven.

To fulfill Your will AMEN!"

There is a natural commitment to loving one's fellow Jew... but loving another like oneself can be extended to all of G-d's creatures as Hillel taught - Be one of the students of Aharon HaKohen, love peace and pursue peace, "Ohev et habriot" - love all creatures, all people and everything that G-d has created in the world - and bring them closer to Torah.

Isn't life so different for so many people?! What makes us different as a Jewish nation? The Torah!

While on one side of the world, an innocent child awakens each morning to want nothing more than to pursue peace - wherever he can, on the other side of the world, there are those who awake to plot evil conspiracies against purely innocent people - the very people who try so hard to work on themselves to desire nothing more than to love another like themselves.

This is the nature of a Jew. It is his nature because his soul is great. But even with that, he does not settle for what is given to him as a Divine gift. He realises that contrary to popular belief about everyone just "being a good person" in life without a need for some objective law book (an understatement for the value of Torah), he is completely dependent upon the values that it teaches.

With our own minds, we can make anything up. We can turn the most violent behaviour into a Mitzvah and even receive praise from the rest of the world for it. To continue upon such a path of life - to believe that one can come to be a "good person" based upon one's own limited thinking, is to eventually end up "on the other side of the world."

The good, the bad and the ugly... You decide who fitted into which category in this last tragedy. As for me, I'm grateful I have the Torah. There is nothing in it - except for life, goodness, kindness and beauty. If you're not already "connected" and involved in a Torah path, do yourself a favour, turn to the very first words of the Torah, "In the beginning G-D created the heavens and the earth," and begin to give up on the "wonders" and "brilliance" of the human mind, and appreciate that becoming humble to G-d, means one becomes humble to truth, goodness and kindness. There's much to learn in the Torah from basic history to law, from stories - to the deepest secrets of the universe.

Of course, there is "the good, the bad, and this ugly" all the time... but every day,  each of us will need to confront it and ask ourselves *honestly* if indeed we have our values right or whether or not we must strengthen ourselves not just in thought and speech but most importantly in action - in making a difference in the lives of others. 

How do we know what to do?! The answers can only be found in the Torah - for everything is in it. Turn it over and over... for everything is in it.

If you are needing help in making a commitment to Torah study or Mitzvah observance, check in at and contact Rav Eliyahu for one-on-one online lessons or make your commitment to help newly married couples set up their homes. Now is the time as we remember all the Achashveiroshe's and Haman's of the world, and use what goodness we have to give over - to help those in true need. It is our surest way of defeating those who continue to plot against us every single day!

Wake up each morning to think goodness, speak it and do it. Remember it always! Sharing the tragic stories such as these will be of help only when we push ahead to increase in goodness and kindness and not just discuss it.

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