Monday, May 18, 2015

Tefillat Hashlah - A Parents Prayer - Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan


Please have in mind and davan for Avraham Zev ben Yehudis נ"י who just started dialysis this morning.  He is around 16 maybe 17 years old who had an infection in his arm that spread to his organs. May Hashem grant him and all those who need it a Refuah Shlaima BeKarov! Venomar Amein Ken Yehu Ratzon!

Please visit these posts sent in 2013 and 2014 re: Tefillat Hashlah. They have a link to the actual Tefilla with a translation as well as some additional thoughts related to the kidsatrisk phenomenon of our generation. 

This post is a plea for leadership of our generation to act when there are issues.

When the issues of a family or a child are not addressed early on because the system is either incapable or unwilling to address the matter, it doesn't go away.  

Assuming we are a school. Let us take the scenario where we feel ill equipped of addressing the issues at hand of a particular student and or his/her family. Our school can't handle the issues or don't want to deal with the issues.  Perhaps we are afraid of negative influences on the other students.  Perhaps we simply don't have the resources. 

So the family and the kid leaves the school voluntarily or involuntarily.  

Can the school now wash their hands of the matter? This student is no longer the school's Achrayus...True or false?  . One can argue true.  The family no longer pays tuition, the school can disconnect from the family and student. 

Let us ask ourselves.  Is that family now going to receive the help that they need?  The school was their support until now.  Now that the school is out of the picture, their issues are compounded because there is a void.  The issues didn't go away and now the support that they were receiving from the school is no longer in place either.  When a student or a family is in stress is this the proper time to abandon them to their own devices? More often than not other kids fill the void and try to help their friend often getting stuck in the quicksand themselves not having the proper tools..

Is society there to pick up where the school left off? 

When society ignores, turns a blind eye, or more often than not distances itself, it  merely serves to allow its issues to become worse.  

Allow me to use the analogy of a real infection.  If  the  bad bacteria is not addressed, either by the bodies' immune system or by medication,  the bacteria will multiply until it chas veshalom takes over all of the organs.

At that point it is much harder to fight the bacteria. 

and let us agree that the school was correct in diagnosing a spiritual infection. 

It is my conclusion that the ultimate responsibility then falls upon the leadership of society and that no segment of society is exempt to address the issues at hand. . This is necessary in order to "repair the fraying of the social fabric" and this can be learned from the Parsha of Egla Arufa.  See below

Let me add that the rationalization to not address the issues of others,  in its early stages perhaps comes  because we don't fully appreciate the unity of the Jewish people and the Unity of G-d in Israel as a Nation and the world at large and  that yes, while we are separate and distinct individuals,  we are also interconnected each soul being an integral part of Am Yisroel all of us being part of the Unity of Hashem. .

The spiritual bacteria in one limb will eventually infect the entire body if not treated and in addition, the body is suffering because it is not receiving the full use of all of its limbs, in addition, proper circulation of the entire body can be hampered if one limb is not receiving the nutrients it needs. 

The second post talks about being Areivim and offers a partial solution as per how our Neshamos can stay connected to help one another especially when one Neshoma is not functioning to its fullest.

The Parsha of Egla Arufa

While individuals, schools, parents, teachers, social workers, psychologists, Rabbi's, Law enforcement, and gov't servants do what they can...

... to be most effective there needs to be corroboration and cooperation between all of the above, to work to bring the resources necessary to where it's needed.

  This is where leadership comes in...  

Otherwise, when there is a fatality chas veshalom,  can leadership of society honestly say  "Our hands did not spill this blood and our eyes did not see." 

 "The implication of the elders' declaration in the ritual of "Egla Arufa" is that the repair of manifestations of the fraying of the social fabric is the primary responsibility of the political, judicial, military and executive branches of government." (see full text)

Egla Arufa as a Chok.
At the end of Parashat Shoftim (Devarim 21:1-9), we encounter the curious and mysterious ritual of "Egla Arufa" (lit. broken-necked calf). The procedure is required when the body of a murder victim is discovered in an unpopulated area within the land of Israel. The closest Jewish city is notified and its inhabitants perform a ceremony that culminates in a prayer for HaShem to Grant atonement for the crime that has taken place so close to their homes. Some of the components of the ceremony seem to have purely symbolic value, e.g., the killing of a calf that has never been used for any type of work upon a site has never been cultivated, and would therefore appear to qualify as one of the "Chukim" (lit. statutes), laws whose meanings are obscure to the human mind.[1]
The leadership of the city closest to the body must take responsibility for what has occurred.
However, one aspect of the ritual is very comprehensible, and probably quite disconcerting for the city's leadership. By means of both body language as well as the spoken word, the leaders of the community are commanded to declare their innocence of any wrongdoing in connection to the murdered individual's demise.
Devarim 21:6-7
And all of the elders of that city closest to the lifeless body will wash their hands[2] over the broken-necked calf in the valley.
And they will recite and say: Our hands did not spill this blood and our eyes did not see.
The Tora-mandated public declaration by these leading personalities of the city, suggesting that some degree of suspicion regarding their complicity in the murder has to be unambiguously refuted, inspires the Mishna (paraphrased by RaShI in his interpretation to Devarim 21:7) to rhetorically ask a pointed question, and then answer its own query with an intriguing hypothesis.
Sota 9:6
…Does it ever occur to us that the elders of the local court are murderers?
But rather (they are declaring) that we were never approached by this individual and we never deliberately sent him away without food;
we never saw him setting out on a journey and are not to be blamed for allowing him to travel without a protective entourage…
The Mishna interprets the elders' verbal formula associated with "Egla Arufa" as suggesting that rather than focusing upon the murder itself from which the elders hopefully should be able to easily disassociate themselves, reflecting upon and reenacting the series of events that possibly led up to the actual crime is of importance to us all, and that the responsibility for this chain of unfortunate circumstances might have to be laid at the feet of the city's leadership, however distinguished their reputations. Every grouping of human beings, large and small, contains within it, on the one hand, individuals who are vulnerable and needy, and on the other those who are predatory and predisposed to violence. When the paths of members of these two groups cross under extenuating circumstances, e.g., when food is scarce and extreme poverty is wide-spread, the Tora suggests that blame for violence cannot be confined to the immediate perpetrator of a crime, but rather has to be shared by those mandated to create and enforce a spirit of cooperation, mutual respect and safety within their municipality's precincts. The implication of the elders' declaration in the ritual of "Egla Arufa" is that the repair of manifestations of the fraying of the social fabric is the primary responsibility of the political, judicial, military and executive branches of government.
For whom must the leadership take responsibility, the victim or the perpetrator?
The Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds disagree regarding the identity of the individual about whom the elders are declaring their freedom from blame. Bavli Sota 45b-46a understands that the elders are referring to the murder victim concerning whom they claim they did not know that he either lacked food or had felt compelled to travel alone on dangerous roads. Much more intriguingly, the Talmud Yerushalmi takes a different perspective, shifting the focus from the social services offered by the society, to its justice system.
Yerushalmi Sota 9:6
The Rabbis from here (Israel—Jerusalem Talmud) explain the verse in terms of the murderer, while the Rabbis from there (Bavel—Babylonian Talmud) interpret the verse in terms of the murder victim.
The Rabbis from here explain the verse in terms of the murderer: he did not come into our hands and we freed him (without subjecting him to punishment). We did not see him committing the crime, and failed to bring him to justice.[3]
While the Rabbis of the two Talmudical traditions disagree regarding how to understand the focus of the elders' declaration, from the perspective of considering societal needs, both perspectives are important to consider. Individuals reduced to desperate circumstances in order to be able to survive will feel compelled to engage in risk-taking that can sometimes prove fatal, while unrepentant criminals who are allowed to continue to wreak havoc with impunity will similarly erode the quality of life within the community. R. David Tzvi Hoffmann[4] suggests that the difference in opinion between the Yerushalmi and Bavli revolves around whether a "Beit Din" (Jewish court)'s failure to convict a criminal who subsequently murders someone is tantamount to the judges themselves being guilty or at least accused of spilling blood—according to the Rabbis of Israel "yes",[5] and the Rabbis of Bavel "no".[6]
The dialectic between protecting the accused and protecting the society.

And of course the most important ingredient is much Siata Dishmaya.  Help from the One Above.

Let me end this post with a touching story about President Bush.  

And The Good News Is by Dana Perino combines a self-portrait of her early years, her journey culminating in becoming the first female Republican press secretary, and her ability to give very practical advice.  American Thinker had the privilege of interviewing this number one best-selling author who portrays President George Bush the 43rd President of the USA as being gracious, compassionate, and caring. 

....There is a heart-wrenching scene in the book where a mother whose son was on life support severely criticized President Bush. She writes, “He didn't leave. He stood there, almost as if he needed to absorb it and to understand it. Commanders in chief make really tough decisions, and we went on to the next rooms, and I remember those being experiences where the families were very happy to see him. But when we got on Marine One to fly back to the White House, the president was looking out the window, and then he looked at me and he said, "That mama sure was mad at me." And then he looked out the window and he said, "And I don't blame her a bit." And a tear rolled down his cheek, but he didn't wipe it away, and then we flew back to the White House.”

This post is dedicated for a Refuah Shelaima for Avraham Zev ben Yehudis n"y and Aryeh ben Rina n"y


Robin Ticker

Activist emails sent to my list  are L'Ilui Nishmat Yisrael ben David Aryeh ob"m (Izzy - Kaplan) and Howard Chaim Grief great activists and lovers of Eretz Yisroel, Am Yisroel and the Torah. Yehi Zichronum Baruch.  May their memories serve as a blessing. 

Most of these emails are posted on

Personal emails to individuals will not be posted to my blog. 
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