Friday, March 7, 2008

IDF commander: "But why my child..the Rebbe just cried"

In connection to the massacre that took place in Yerushalayim today, in which the lives of a number of Yeshiva Students were taken from this world. The following is a very moving and uplifting "Yechidus" that took place with an IDF commander and the Rebbe, regarding the Death of two Israeli Soldiers following the Yom Kippur war in 1973. it's an Excerpt from the new book on the Rebbe to see more information about the book click: also included is an intresting picture of the Rebbe (part 94 in the sereis)

"Battle weary and depressed by the constant fighting, the officer expressed his wish that there be no more combat with enemies. Being realistic, however, and acknowledging that it was highly plausible that there would more conflict, he asked the Rebbe's opinion on whether there would be another war, or whether perhaps the Arabs had been so discouraged, during the Yom Kippur War, that they would never muster the confidence to fight again.

"At the moment," came the reply, "the Arabs are merely unable to attack. However, given time to recover and regroup, they will surely seek opportunities to instigate conflict. To further crush their forces and minimize the chance of future clashes, the army should have advanced to Damascus and Cairo when it had the chance. Although the government did not approve, the army should have continued anyway–ignoring the lack of permission from the government. It was a crucial and perilous moment, and we should have continued pressing the main cities.

"Why didn't Arik Sharon continue going into Cairo?" the Rebbe exclaimed. "He was just one hundred kilometers from there! Excusing the decision, the government claims that there was insufficient fuel to reach there. However, this is very difficult to accept; the Egyptians seemed to have no shortage of fuel, and if Sharon, as conqueror, had decided to use that fuel, no one could prevent him.

"Have you ever flown over Cairo?" asked the Rebbe, staring inquisitively at the officer.
"Yes," the officer responded, proceeding to describe with minute detail the layout of the city.
"In that case," challenged the Rebbe, "why didn't you take the necessary planes, fly there, and conquer the city yourself? Coming in with those planes, you would have easily surprised them and effortlessly taken control. If that had been accomplished, with Cairo in our hands for even a very short period, the present situation would be completely different. "

Unable to persuade the Rebbe to accept his position, the military officer asked about something which had been troubling him for a long time. In a devastating fashion, his close friend Zurik was recently murdered during a terrorist attack, just two years after Zurik's losing his brother Udi in the latest war. It was inconceivable that one family should deserve to bear so much anguish, losing two members in a short span. How could G-d have permitted this? Where was He?

Distressed at the tale of sorrow and unable to control his tears, the Rebbe began to weep. He finally replied, "Indeed, the story you tell me is frightening and upsetting; we are tempted, when hearing such an account, to question G-d and conclude that He does not really dictate what transpires in this world. We must, however, remember that we mortals cannot aspire to understand the intricacies of His divine wisdom.

"Having studied Torah all my life, at seventy-three years old and still studying and adding to my Torah knowledge, I feel that I have attained a level of wisdom. Nonetheless, the extent of my wisdom is ridiculous when compared to G-d's. Therefore, we must not come to preposterous conclusions based on our judgment of events around us. Although there is much we do not comprehend, often in retrospect we come to an appreciation of the righteousness of His decisions. Perhaps time will demonstrate the virtue of Udi's and Zurik's premature deaths; perchance, many Jewish fatalities were avoided as a result of these casualties."

"Are you worried," asked the officer, moving to a new topic, "about living as a Jew here in Brooklyn, in a non-Jewish environment?"

"As a soldier you are surely aware," answered the Rebbe, "that during the time of combat there is no chance to reflect on your fear. You must fight with courage and sincerity, regardless of how you feel. Similarly, when I am immersed in my work, even if the extraneous conditions are unfriendly, I have faith and trust in G-d, because He alone controls what takes place here on earth, and is looking out for the interests of every Jew."

"But," persisted the Israeli, "why don't you move to Israel? Your revered stature and dynamic manner will certainly influence the political and religious scene. Aware that many people questioned you regarding this, I have heard several different replies, but, the replies are unsatisfactory, and for me the question remains."

The Rebbe answered, "Living in Israel and enduring the responsibilities that would come with it, my influence on world Jewry would be restricted. Inevitably, my controversial position on issues would limit my capability of communicating with Jews, both outside of Israel, in Moscow, for example, and in Israel; in fact, even this conversation would be impossible in Tel Aviv. I find this place the most conducive for my work."

Good Shabbos.


Copyright © Menachem Kirschenbaum 2007