Letter: Are We Doing Enough?

Dear Klal Yisroel.

It’s already been over a month since the deadly attack and many people have gone back to their regular busy schedules. Many Shuls say a few Kapitlach of Tehillim after each davening and it’s wonderful. However, deep down we all know that this is not enough. I mean we are talking about two hundred hostages that are languishing in the hands of the devil. These Hamas are hardly people and mercy is not in their dictionary. We can only imagine what kind of torture our brothers and sisters are enduring r”l.

We don’t want to think about this as this will make us uncomfortable. However, this approach is the approach of Yishmael’s mother Hagar as she threw him in the bushes as she didnt want to see him die in front of her eyes. Us Jews who are rachmanim b’nei rachmanim, we need to feel the suffering of our brethren. So before you actually say tehillim, picture all the hostages in the hands of the cruelest of men (who are almost not human). This will change the way we daven for them.

Furthermore, we know that the hostages were captured during the saga of Entebbe, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz got up and cried bitterly. He said that when we daven we have to picture it as if it’s our own blood relatives on that plane. After all, we are brothers and sisters. We need to take the same approach to our situation. We need to know that these are our brothers and sisters and we need to take this to heart.

So we are saying now that the quality of our Tefillos needs to intensify for them, We need to make this real and envision their pain and it’s not so difficult to realize what they are going through. We also need to improve the quantity as well. Think for a second. If your son or brother was one of the hostages would you rattle off two kapitlach after davening? Or you would be saying Tehillim non-stop. You would beg Hashem in your own words “please bring him home”. We should do the same for these hostages as well.

Perhaps we should have people saying Tehillim together in every shul finishing the whole thing on a weekly basis with the thirteen middos. This is in addition to the Tehillim one should say on his own time. Perhaps we can have shuls that have Tehillim around the clock. There should be constant speeches of hisorerrus and people should make kabbalos as well.

The bottom line is that our brothers and sisters are in grave danger and we cannot sit back idly. This includes hundreds and thousands of soldiers that are in grave danger as well fighting in the lion’s den. We cannot forget ourselves in Galus as we are surrounded by enemies like seventy wolves versus one sheep [I once heard a beautiful explanation why we are compared to sheep in particular. That’s because the sheep is totally reliant on the shepherd, so too we are like sheep that totally rely on “our” Shepherd, Hashem].

This past Chol Hamoed I was privileged to hear an amazing speech from Rav Avraham Schurr Shlit”a. He asked the crowd the following question. Aren’t you wondering that after seven days of continuous rain, and the forecast didn’t seem too promising when all of the sudden on the first night of Sukkas the clouds gave way and we had a beautiful Yom tov like never before. How did this come about?

Reb Avraham said “I will tell you why”. On Erev Sukkos Klal Yisroel stormed Shomayim with Tefilla that we should be zoche to eat in the Sukka the night of Sukkos, and when Klal Yisroel cries out, Hashem listens. Rav Schur then concluded that we see the power of Tefilla here if we cry out to Hashem with Emes He listens.

Rabbosai, there are stories how non religious Jews are realizing the power of Tefilla as they saw how it helps. On that dreaded day a bunch of terrorists stormed a kibbutz and two non religious Jews were hiding in a portable bathroom and they were davening for seven hours straight, as the terrorists kept passing by without opening the door. This is indeed a miracle. This is the power of Tefilla. Recently, the IDF let out a statement on social media saying “PRAY FOR US”. The Non Jews were all taking in wonderment that the IDF should say such a thing. It’s unheard of. NU WHAT ABOUT US? We need to recognize the power that we have with Tefilla. We can bring the hostages back with our Koach of Tefilla, but we can do even more than that.

Rav Avraham Schurr concluded that just like when we cried out on Erez Sukkas we were answered. If we would cry out to Hashem to take us out of Galus “oy would we be answered”. This is what Hashem is waiting for. He said that many of us feel safe and comfortable here in Galus, but if chas v’shalom one day there would be people all over the streets with machine guns shooting all over oy would we cry out take us out and bring Moshiach. At that point Rav Schurrs face turned colors and he cried out it’s happening right now as we speak. Chazal say that causing one to sin is worse than killing someone. WHEREVER WE GO THEY ARE KILLING OUR NESHAMOS. They are killing our friends and families as well. Whether it’s with shmiras eynayim or other aveiros. If we realize this then we will cry out “TATTE NEM UNZ SHOIN AHEIM”. If we cry out with our full heart then Hashem will for sure accept our tefillos and will whisk us away on the wings of an eagle very very soon. Amein

Pinchas Halevi Doppelt

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  1. Rav Avigdor Miller says a important yesod. When a person expresses their own feelings of inspiration, it may help other’s but it also causes the person to lose some of the excitement they had before they expressed it. This is a natural occurance, by expressing something, we feel it less. Sometime’s it’s better to hold the feelings of chizuk for yourself & go much further in your avodas Hashem then to share it with others. Rav Miller said that he’s concerned for himself that he might be too much sharing of his inspiration & losing it. Something we should all contemplate.

    • Chaimel, Here is another important yesod. When you want to shoot down another person (as you did here, and as I am now doing to your response to this fantastic letter), ask yourself what your motive is and if you are causeing more harm than good. There really was no reason for you to post your comment.

      • My comment isn’t specifically focused on this letter writer rather on the new phenominon of Yechidim directly addressing the tzibbur with thoughts of mussar & chizuk both online & in print. Modern technology now allows people to share their chizuk & mussar with the whole world both online & in print! Some people believe that this is an excellent opportunity for zikui horabim on a mass scale & they may be correct. They still need to be aware of Rav Miller’s Yesod which isn’t very well known. Internalizing an inspiration for ourselves can be much more powerful then publicizing it because it then loses it power on us. If my comment does more harm than good then I certainly take it back.

  2. Here is an idea that can be easily implemented at every simcha (chasunah, bar mitzvah, bris, etc.) Have available two sets of tehillim mechulak – one for the women and one for the men. Put each set into a box labeled “NOT READ YET,” and have another box next to it labeled “ALREADY READ. WHEN YOU COUNT 28 BOOKLETS HERE, PLEASE TRANSFER THEM BACK TO THE NOT READ YET BOX.” You can designate a few of your guests to periodically check if the 28 booklets are in the READ box, and have them transfer them back to the first box (although any guest can take this upon themselves to do as well). There is plenty of “down time” during a simcha that can be spent in saying many rounds of tehillim for Eretz Yisrael – the soldiers, the injured, the hostages and everyone else in possible danger. I am also coordinating nightly tehillim between seven pm and midnight (when the most dangerous missions are conducted by the soldiers). If you would like to get a link to the document to sign on and take some chapters for one time only (the commitment is only for the specific night you sign on), please email [email protected]

  3. Reb Chaim Kanievsky
    זכר צדיק וקדוש לברכה
    One Friday afternoon, while Reb Chaim was in the Barzam home (his sister), a long line of individuals formed in front of the house.
    “There are many people outside who wish to speak to you,” Rebetzin Barzam informed her brother.
    “Please let them in,” he requested.
    One of Rebbetzin Barzam’s sons-in-law asked Reb Chaim, “Why do you allow so many people to disturb your learning.”
    Reb Chaim replied softly, “A person does not know what his purpose is in this world. Perhaps my mission is to be attentive to people, to uplift their spirits and answer their questions.”

  4. Nothing beats the “Jewish guilt trip” “However, deep down we know this is not enough.” Do we?
    The most popular phrase in the Frum world. “Would it kill you?”
    To say 3 Kapitals instead of 2?
    To say 4 Kapitals instead of 3?
    To wait 12 hours after meat instead of 6?
    To learn 4 hours Motzei Yom Kippur before breaking your fast?
    Yidden are worried. Yidden are anxious. Yidden are scared. Yidden wonder what will be in Eretz Yisroel. Yidden are shocked at the level of Antisemitism in America especially among the “Intellectuals”
    I’m not sure how making people either feel guilty for “Not doing enough” or passive aggressively pressuring them into doing more is the right thing to do during this difficult time.
    Every Jew needs to decide what’s best for them in this situation (perhaps raising tzedaka, sending care packages to soldiers, fighting the Antisemites online, petitioning the govt, etc) without someone intimating that if they aren’t Davening more & more they’re doing it wrong.

    • You are getting very excited. It is hard to write a sincere, helpful, inspirational, warm, well thought out comment in a state of excitement. Maybe mention to your Rav exactly what the letter writer said (please do not add or subtract) and also ask your Rav if he agrees that your comment is really appropriate for this exact specific letter.
      What ever the letter writer wrote, please keep in mind that we can not add on our own extra words to his letter and then get upset on the extra that we added. It is very difficult to read a person’s mind.
      Please relax, calm down and rewrite your comment so we can all benefit from a comment that is more on the mark.
      Thank you
      I am not trying to give you Mussar. I am trying to advise you and show you that we all need to give another person the benefit of the doubt.

  5. There was a group of soldiers that entered a new area of Gaza and as usual, they checked the area to ensure there were no terrorists hiding to attack them. During the check, they heard a shot, and one of the soldiers said it was a mistaken shot from his gun. They looked around to see if anyone was hurt, and one of the soldiers found a terrorist hidden in a nearby cave, holding a anti-tank missle launcher aimed at their group, but mortally wounded by a bullet in the neck. He was killed by the mistaken shot! The irreligious soldier who found the terrorist was so inspired by the hashgacha, he decided to become shomer mitzvos.
    This is a wondrous example of the power of our tefilos.

  6. This is a very complicated subject. In general its always better to be melamed zechus on klal yisroel and point out how much everyone is doing, rather than what we’re no doing enough. We all heard so many stories of seemingly small acts of ruchnius that saved peoples lives. So, we don’t really know what Hashem expects from us. We definitely don’t know what Hashem expects from everyone else. I’m sure everyone is trying to do as much as they can, or emotionally can, or whatever. We should see the Geula Bekorov!

  7. I am an Israeli-born bochur living in Lakewood. I never served in the IDF and I did not apply for an exemption. I cannot go back to Eretz Yisrael for my sister’s wedding unless I have a p’tur from the IDF. How can I do this? Thanks.

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