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A Gut Voch, A Gut Chodesh and a Gut Yohr to The Entire White Shul Kehillah,After exchanging a few emails with residents of Ofir and Bat Galim Shaer’s Talmon community on Friday, I decided to phone them close to 4:30 pm, and ask if I could spend the upcoming Shabbos with their community.I was meant to spend Shabbos in Yerushayim with my younger sister, but a part of me felt that I just wanted to spend this Shabbos getting to know my newly discovered brothers and sisters, whom I had spent a few hours with, just a day earlier. Our time together on Thursday was most meaningful, and our hearts simply melded as one.All I can say is, באתי לארץ לחזק ואני יוצא כ”כ מחוזק. As the local Rav said over Shabbos, “such a community is not created in three weeks…we have been working on ourselves for years; strengthening, growing, building and believing…this is what you are experiencing as you spend Shabbos with us here in Talmon.”This outstanding community has only one minyan for Kabbalas Shabbos, and as I led the overflowing tzibbur in Kabbalas Shabbos, I could not help but to cry my heart out; The most palpable positive energy, the feelings of togetherness, the beautiful singing as one, and the deeply profound and inspiring drasha of the local Rav, was extremely overwhelming.Mr. Ofir Shaer came to thank me for leading the davening and then said, “it gives us so much strength that you have chosen to return to spend Shabbos with us. We will never forget your community. It means the world to us that your community cares this much about us.”The ensuing 24 hours were spent simply listening to the personal stories of scores of local families, each sharing their challenging experiences during these trying few weeks, each describing in great detail what their particular job was throughout, and sharing their heartfelt feelings.Families said that Coca Cola came by a few times a week and dropped off cases and cases of drinks for the media and the local families. Farmers were dropping off cartons of fresh fruits and vegetables. One person was asked to serve as the community spokesman, and another was asked to help put the younger Shaer children to sleep on time at night, as Ofir and Bat Galim traveled from rally to rally. The local girls went to Tel Aviv with dozens of pounds of Challah dough, and offered secular Israelis to have a part in the mitzvah of Hafrashas Chalah…and the stories just went on and on and on.
The Shaer family mentioned more than once, “Believe us Rav Shay; We are a simple family. We are nothing special.”
Though they may honestly feel this way about themselves, consider the fact that this most incredible family glues Divrey Torah sheets to the back of their cereal boxes, so that their children wouldn’t waste a precious moment while eating breakfast! The Shaer family is beyond exceptional and has the most dignified demeanor. How about the fact that Ofir walked his young daughter to attend the regular Parsha shiur this morning, as if this was an ordinary Shabbos in Yishuv Talmon?! How about what Bat Galim said — that it is only a great sign of Hashgacha Pratis that her son was not found earlier in the process, because Kikar Rabin would have otherwise never united the people of Israel! These people are as real as they come. There is not a fake bone in their bodies. They live life the way it is meant to be lived, and they find meaning in everything they do.
At 11 p.m. on Thursday evening, an anonymous American Jew sent an unfinished Sefer Torah to the Shaer residence and asked that Ofir fill in the final letters. This Torah was donated, and meant to be shared with the Frankel and Yifrach families as well, in memory of their respective precious souls. This Torah had a beautifully embroidered cover, which had the names of the three incredible neshamos, and this is the Torah which we all read from in the Talmon Shul this Shabbos.
I have never really thought as carefully about the words of אב הרחמים שוכן מרומים as much as I did this week. As I stood in Shul, just a few rows away from Ofir, and watched the tears streaming down his face, as his young son now joined the long list of our beloved Kedoshim throughout our most difficult history.
Following this most uplifting Shabbos, the Shaer family’s Shiva resumed, and after spending some more time together in their home, I shared a thought, that I was reminded of while reciting Kiddush Levana this evening.
The Gemarah tells us in Maseches Sanhedrin, that Kiddush Levana must be recited while standing, as each and every month, the shechinah is present at the time of our recital.
We have a monthly opportunity to have a most intimate and special encounter with the Shechinah. Sounds like the kind of encounter we should carefully consider. One would think that we would take advantage, and use this time to ask for good health, for happiness, for nachas from our children, and for badly needed yeshuos?
So why is it that the one request that we make while reciting Kiddush Levana, is למלאות פגימת הלבנה – Please God, may you restore the moon which has been limited; restore it to its original size, and fill in its deficiencies?
Is the size of the moon really something that bothers us so much; that it is worth “wasting” this incredible opportunity on?
On numerous occasions, my father has told me in the name of his great Rebbe, Rav Soloveitchik, that there is in fact a most profound meaning to this seemingly trivial Tefillah.
The Gemarah tells us that at the time of creation, the sun and the moon were created of equal proportions. The moon “challenged” God’s creation and asked, “How can two kings rule over a kingdom at the same time? Such an arrangement never works out well between two powerful human beings? So how can the sun and the moon be given equal power to sustain and rule over the world?”
And the Ribono Shel Olam’s immediate response was to reduce and diminish the light of the moon; and from that time on, the sun has ruled over the entire world.
But when one thinks about it more critically, this sequence seems quite problematic, and difficult to understand!
Why in fact was the moon punished? What did the moon do wrong? Isn’t the issue that the moon raised, an absolutely valid claim as we understand it?
So what was the reason to scale down the size of the moon, as a response to a fairly unbiased question?
Rav Soloveitchik explained, that this seemingly insignificant Tefillah that we offer each and every month, למלאות פגימת הלבנה, addresses the most profound philosophical question that has been bothering our great leaders, throughout all generations.
This is the question that bothered none other than Moshe Rabeinu himself. And that is digesting the reality of צדיק ורע לו.
What did the moon do wrong? Why was it punished? It fulfilled its job and completed its purpose in this world, so why was it limited in its power and size?
And this is our most powerful tefillah that we save for the time of Kiddush Levanah when we encounter the Ribono Shel Olam Himself. We ask to be brought to the time when we will understand the answers to these most difficult questions. That we be reassured in the most obvious and most pronounced fashion, that everything in this world has a reason, and that in retrospect everything was done with our best of interests in mind.
These were the feelings I had, as I took leave from my new brother and sister the Shaer family. These were the words I shared with them, at a time when so many of us, in communities throughout the world, have been and continue to grapple with this most impossible question.
When will the time come that we will be given the most profound insight into the tragic happenings and circumstances that face our world? When will the time come that we will really appreciate each and every challenge of our lives, and see with open eyes, what the ultimate plan from heaven really was all along?!
May our most sincere request be answered speedily in our days. May we soon experience the time in which our eyes will gaze straight into the eyes of the Ribono Shel Olam’s – כי עין בעין יראו בשוב ה’ ציון, with the coming of Mashiach and only ישועות ונחמות for all of Klal Yisrael.
Rabbi Shay Schachter