Leiby Kletzky And The Rest of Us

clifford methBy Clifford Meth. I spoke with a friend this morning about the news coming out of Boro Park, which is too much for any of us to shoulder alone. It takes a village to raise a child, and to bury one. I had called and emailed many people last night, my own grown sons among them. I begged that people perform extra deeds of kindness and spiritual charity to help balance the scales. Writing checks and dropping coins in pushkas and saying T’hillim (Psalms) is not enough—vital, but not enough. It is the rebalancing of realms that’s necessary. We live in a world where monsters dwell. Monsters who hurt children. And we need grace.

There is only one way to achieve grace, and it encompasses many smaller ways. And we need no preacher nor specific guidelines to understand what is called for. We need only place ourselves in the minds of those parents whose child went missing yesterday and did not return home. Their torment is unimaginable except to those who have experienced just this (may the Al-mighty spare them from further grief).

Had I lived anywhere near the area, I’d have joined the hundreds and hundreds who searched day and night for this little child. I considered driving there and joining them but I decided that the myriad search parties—all locals and many professionals—were sufficient. Instead, I gave an offering: I phoned someone that I have avoided speaking with for a decade—someone who holds me in colossal contempt—and apologized profusely for anything I might have done to offend them. It didn’t matter what occurred years ago; it didn’t matter if I considered myself the injured party. The important thing is peace. Peace is the vessel that contains blessings in this world. We learn these lessons too late.

I entreated the Al-mighty to add my merit to those who prayed for this boy’s safe return. That was last night. Then came the news this morning, which was too much to contain.

We hang our heads. And we must content ourselves with knowing that random acts of kindness are done for their own sake. Rebalancing the world is a responsibility we all share.

There will always be monsters. The rest of us must maintain balance.

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  1. there is so much fighting just in our town of lakewood i wish it would all stop. between families, neighbors, schools, ect. time to wake up!

  2. Bury all hatchets, my friends. Dispatch all grudges. We are surrounded by dark forces that will swallow us and cannot bring redemption or protection to klal Yisroel by anything short of uncompromised Ahavas Yisroel.

  3. AMAZING! The first op-ed I’ve seen that I feel hits home. Instead of giving reasons, explaining it away, he talks sense. Thank you for a great price and I will bn try to do as you say!

  4. Yes, but it does NOT take a village to raise a child (in spite of what Hillary would have us believe). It takes a functional family to raise a child.

    But thank you for your wonderful sentiments all the same.

  5. The term village was used colloquially. I clearly meant a kehilla (and which of us would deem it healthier to raise our children in isolation from a makom Torah?) The above piece was written for my blog, which is read by thousands of people who are not Torah observant; The Lakewood Scoop graciously re-ran it here but without Lakewood-izing it. Thus the village reference. At any rate Shabbat Shalom.

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