Monday, June 30, 2008

If Only…

This is a heartwarming event. It shows just what can be accomplished if people of good will act on that good will. The following story was reported in Yeshiva World News.

A Sefer Torah has been donated to Yeshivat Merkaz Harav in memory of the eight Yeshiva students slain there a few months ago. This was a project of two students, Yitzchok Fuchs of Flatbush and Yosef Wartelsky of Far Rockaway who felt they needed to do something tangible to show solidarity with their bretheren in Yeshivat Merkaz Harav. From their photo they look Charedi.

What an expression of Achdus this was. They collected over $30,000 dollars from ten thousand students in over 30 schools. They then bought a Sefer Torah flew to Israel and participated in a massive Hachnasas Sefer Torah that included not only members of Yeshivat Merkaz but Bachurim from Mir, Shuvu an even members of the Knesset.

I only wish this could have happened in a more positive context. Unfortunately it took a tragedy of high magnitude to accomplish this moment of unity. I wish it were the beginning of a new era in relations between those with the Hashkafa of Merkaz HaRav and those with Charedi Hashkafos. Or - even better – all of Orthodoxy with each other.

Dare I hope? Or will things return to business as usual? I think I know the answer.

But at least now in this case, there are two students who felt Achdus and followed it up with action. I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to these young men for showing us how to do it - well after the tragedy happened. I would bet that at least these two young men will have an eternal empathy for Merkaz HaRav students and will respect their Hashkafos even if they disagree with them. Yitzchok and Yosef, I salute you. You are role models for us.