Ask the Rabbi

By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried
Dear Readers,
As with previous visits to Israel, I would like to share my feelings with you. The reason for this visit is for a joyous simcha, the wedding of one of our closest students, who has decided to be married in Israel. Since we’re here, our future mechutanim decided to throw an engagement party for our son Benny and his fiancée, Ranit Gotsman of Haifa.
The joy was dampened by the unfortunate opportunity to join the funeral of one of the victims of the Mumbai Chabad House massacre. Rabbi Aryeh L. Teitelbaum ob”m, a young father of seven, noted Torah scholar and son-in-law of a renowned Chassidic rebbe, was murdered in cold blood together with Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg ob”m and the other martyrs of that senseless massacre. Especially the Holtzberg funerals, as were the worldwide outpouring of prayers for them from Jews of all affiliations, were an expression of Jewish love for fellow Jews.
Today [Thursday, Dec. 4], the ride from Geulah to Bayit Vegan in Jerusalem took triple the time due to violent protests, sealing off the entrance to Jerusalem, over the forced army evacuation of the “Peace House” in Hebron. Many protestors are lying down physically on the Jerusalem Highway entering the city, and unkind words and actions, to understate the situation, are being exchanged between them and police riot squads.
All this in the space of a few days! Being here, especially during historic times such as the days we’re living in, is a very mixed time emotionally — a very typical Jewish experience. Joy mixed with sadness. Love for fellow Jews mixed with its antithesis. Feelings of Jewish safety in Israel punctuated by uncertainty and reminders of the dangerous galut/exile that we still live in, even in Israel itself with Jews being violently expelled from their homes in ways reminiscent of dark times in our recent past.
Our Jewish wisdom teaches us that this dichotomy of Jewish existence is part and parcel of the Diaspora and period preceding Messianic times. May we merit its completion soon, and to the time when all Jews will return to our Holy Land, living there in peace and tranquility, with love for each other and our Father in Heaven.
Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried, noted scholar and author of numerous works on Jewish law, philosophy and Talmud, is founder and dean of DATA, the Dallas Kollel. Questions can be sent to him at

Leave a Reply