In appreciation to the Al-mighty

Dear Friends,

I can’t tell you what a frightful time my family and I had this past Friday, when we first learned of the dreadful and tragic terror attack in Jerusalem. It was first surreal, followed by indescribable trepidation, to read the street name it took place on — and then see a picture of the synagogue where it took place and realize it’s the very synagogue our son prays in on Shabbos. It is directly across the street from him, our daughter-in-law and three little grandchildren and where our youngest son was visiting for Shabbos. There was no way to reach them, as it was Shabbos there and they wouldn’t be answering the phone. And they weren’t yet publishing the names…

You can only imagine.

I tried to give our American children the traditional Shabbos blessings on the phone before Shabbos, but broke down crying…

That’s a time where the rubber meets the road — for all that we study about having trust in G-d.

As it turns out, thank G-d we were able to find out through diplomatic channels that all was OK, at least for our family. And we found out further, after Shabbos, that our son actually witnessed the carnage taking place just below his front window…

The family spent the time — the longest 15-20 minutes ever — locked up in the middle of the house, reciting Psalms over the gunshots heard from just outside.

And then, all the kindness of Hashem Al-mighty — within the dreadful happenings.

The attack began at 8 p.m. Nearly all were still finishing up the Shabbos meal; the street was nearly empty. In another half-hour, our sons, together with most of the neighborhood, would have been having their Friday night stroll in the beautiful weather and the street would have been packed… One can only imagine…

A friend and neighbor of our son was studying in the synagogue when the terrorist ran inside, they locked eyes for a moment and for some inexplicable reason he ran back out to the street and left the friend alone. The next day he recited the “hagomel” blessing, thanking G-d for a miracle, at the Torah reading.

You can only imagine the joy in hearing their voices after Shabbos.

Alas, not everyone got the good news that we did…

There’s so much to learn from these situations. Trust in G-d. Appreciation for being alive, and for our children. Appreciation for G-d’s blessings. We should not forget to express that appreciation to G-d, or to our families how much we appreciate and love them. We can’t take life for granted.

Lastly, nobody in our family, or any family that I know of, reacted to this by saying they should leave there. On the contrary, it only deepens the resolve of the Jewish people to stay and live there. This is the greatest revenge to our enemies and shows G-d that we continue to trust in Him and His protection for His people.

May we know no more sorrow and rejoice in our lives and families for many years to come.

Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried is dean of Dallas Area Torah Association.

Leave a Reply