"E" stands for emuna. With emuna, we can all love each other, and life becomes as festive as a great feast. But, if we take the "E" out of "feast", we're left with "fast" - no one is eating, and everyone is mourning instead of celebrating...
With Hashem's loving grace, we're back with today's weekly emuna shiur (lesson) and live broadcast, which will take place this evening (Wednesday) at 7:00 PM local time, at our Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva, 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street, Jerusalem, in the main sanctuary.
Todays lesson is dedicated to the loving memories of our three young martyrs, Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach, may Hashem avenge their sacred blood.
As always, the live shiur is open to the public - both men and women are welcome - so if you're anywhere near Jerusalem, come on by! You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time as follows:
9:00 AM in LA and the West Coast, 10:00 AM Denver, 11:00 AM Mexico and Central, 12:00 PM NYC (EST), 5:00 PM in the UK, 7:00 PM Johannesburg and Capetown, 7:00 PM Israel. As soon as we can, G-d willing, we'll post a link to the lesson for all those who couldn't see it live. If you can't see the broadcast, you might need to download a new version of Flash Media player, which you can do here. We hope you enjoy the broadcast.
One who fully believes in the truth of his or her actions isn't deterred by anyone or anything. For example, even if the entire world scoffs at our observance of one of the Torah's commandments, a true believer, the baal emuna, cannot be swayed.
With the above principle in mind, we can now understand the current Israel government's utterly paralyzing fear of world opinion and hesitation in reacting assertively. Amazingly, our country's level of emuna and power of deterrence are directly proportional - the lower the emuna, the lower the deterrence. Why the hesitation? The politicians simply lack belief in our Divine-sanctioned right to our holy homeland. Despite the fact that Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaer have been torn from us in the most cruel and barbaric way and the south of Israel is again under siege, the politicians in their pitiful indecision have reacted by letting the IDF bomb empty buildings in Gaza (sic), despite the fact that Hamas now openly admits its part in the 20+ rocket-barrage that hit the south of Israel in recent hours.
With Hamas-like radical Islam spreading like wildfire and the ISIS having taken over entire sections of Iraq and Syria, Israel's sterile gloves - both military and spiritual - need to be removed. Just as our Torah and emuna should be the products of total dedication, and not of mediocrity, so should our power of military deterrence, which in recent years has sorely eroded. Our neighbors in this tough side of the globe respect power - both the power of faith and the power of dedication, which sometimes requires us to take up arms. Their dark-side faith leads to Jihad and atrocities; our holy peace-loving and humanitarian faith must be stronger than theirs. It's time to react without holding back, both in our observance of Torah and in our defense of our country.
It's slightly after midnight in Israel, and I just returned from a lecture I gave in Beersheva. All over Israel, there are spontaneous prayer vigils at main intersections, like the one pictured above (image courtesy of Flash 90 via Israel National News), as Israel mourns the tragic and brutal deaths of martyrs Eyal Yifrah (19), Gilad Shaer (16) and Naftali Frenkel (16), the three yeshiva students who were kidnapped on June 12, 19 days ago. Without a doubt, every family in Israel feels as if this is their personal loss.
Our three martyrs were savagely murdered in cold blood by a barbaric and heartless enemy. But, they didn't die in vain; these three martyrs affected a change in the entire populace here. They did what no one else could - they brought the Jewish People together.
As far as we know now, the bodies of the three were found badly mutilated in a shallow grave near Halhoul, an Arab town north of Hevron.
The search is now over. Our loss is unfathomable, for which no words can describe. My heart tells me that we'll see big changes, for our three martyrs have brought us a giant step closer to Moshiach. The future won't be easy. There will be a tremendous war against evil, but emuna will win and Hashem's Holy Name will be sanctified,as we say in the Kaddish prayer, yitgadal v'yitkadash Shmei raba - amen.
The more a person regards the world with a material orientation, the less he enjoys spiritual insight. Conversely, the more a person realizes the folly and futility of material endeavors, the more he seeks spirituality and gains spiritual insight. Spiritual insight enables a person to see things that others don't see at all. How? Imagine that you're standing on the top of a mountain; your field of vision is much further and wider than a person who is standing on a lower ledge or at the bottom of the mountain. By the same token, the higher a person's spiritual level, the more he or she sees. We can now understand how the average man can not at all understand the decisions and considerations of our spiritual leaders; he cannot see what they see...
From left: Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaer
Animals react with instinct, for they lack the power of reason. If a dog is hit with a stick, it will growl at or bite the stick. Yet, the stick is not responsible for hurting the dog; the person who wields the stick is.
Much of the Israeli media has been blaming the police and the secret services here for all types of operative breakdowns that enabled the tragic kidnapping of the three Gush-Etzion yeshiva students, Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel. So who is responsible?
Hashem is. The first principle of our faith as brought down by the Rambam is that Hashem alone, did, does and will do every deed. So, with emuna in mind, Hashem is responsible for the kidnapping and Hashem is also responsible for the three young men's safe return home from captivity, wherever they are. Hashem is responsible for the success of our security forces and is also responsible for their failure. Knowing this important fact, we no longer waste time on useless blame games but instead ask Hashem why He is doing this to us. By soul-searching and uprooting the spiritual reason that led to the kidnapping, we are doing the best we possibly can to bring Eyal, Gilad and Naftali home.
These three young men are absolute tzaddikim and are suffering for the sins of the Jewish People. This past year has been exemplified by unprecedented intramural Jewish hate, spearheaded by self-serving populist politicians. Hashem can't stand dissenion among His children. Yet, since the three yeshiva boys were kidnapped 17 days ago, all talk of dissension has ceased. The entire nation has come together. If the Hamas (or whoever else committed the crime of the kidnapping) knew that they'd contribute so much to Jewish unity in the Land of Israel, they'd have never allowed this to happen.
Today begins the new month of Tammuz. The notorious Three Weeks begin in another 17 days. Now is the time to love and accept one another and to uproot the ugly sinat chinam, the senseless intramural hate and dissension that caused both the Destruction of our Holy Temple and the kidnapping of our three cherished young men. G-d willing, with ahavat Yisrael, love and tolerance of one another, we'll get them back together with the bonus of Moshiach and our rebuilt Holy Temple, soon, amen.