Friday, July 23, 2010

A True Meilitz Yosher

I was amazed to see a report about the hoopla over a Hakomas Matzeva - the unveiling of the gravestone of Martin Grossman.

For those who suffer from short term memory loss... In 1984 a Jewish man by the name of Martin Grossman brutally murdered Margaret Park, a young Florida wildlife officer. He beat her and he shot her with her own gun to avoid being reported for violating the terms of his parole. He was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death. While in prison he found religion and ultimately regretted his act. Under the guidance of a Chabad Chaplain he apparently began a process of Teshuva.

Late last year many mainstream Orthodox organizations united in common cause to try and commute his sentence to life without parole. This became a celebrated cause in the Torah world.

But it was to no avail. He was executed on February 25th of this year by lethal injection.

I too had hoped for a commutation of his sentence. But that was because of my general opposition to the death penalty and a sense of mercy. I felt that justice would be equally served by a life sentence without parole. But not because he was any kind of hero or victim of the system. He was in fact a cold blooded murderer that deserved no praise. And he was executed because he committed a capital crime in a country that has a fair system of justice.

And yet he has been referred to as a martyr in some circles – who died Al Kiddush HaShem. A victim of a government led blood libel - executed because he was a Jew. Even now there are comments on the post that treat him as a near Tzadik. Or at least a victim of a vicious government sanctioned murder!

Here is the first comment there right out of the box:

Baruch Hashem, this is a true kiddish shem shmayim. May Michoel Yechiel hy’d serve as a malitz yosher (a petitioner to God in His abode on behalf of the Jewish people) for all of klal yisroel.

There are more than a few like that.

Well… I started thinking about it and you know what? That commenter is right. In fact I think an injustice was done by not burying him in Bnei Brak next to the Chazon Ish or Rav Shach. On the other hand - since it was Chasidim who arranged for this event and attended it in large numbers - perhaps burying him next to the Satmar Rebbe would have been even more appropriate.

Are they not all Tzadikim who can be Melitzei Yosher? …especially R’ Grossman who died Al Kiddush HaShem - HY’D!

I’ve been such a fool.