Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Prayer from Afar

From my hotel here in Prague, I can see the roof of the Altneushul. There’s no golem there. The shul, however, is full of ghosts; the ghosts of the gedolim who passed through there since it was first built in 1244. Throughout Shabbat, I was intensely aware of the presence of R. Abraham b. Azriel, R. Avigdor Kara, Maharal, R. Ephraim Lunschitz, R. David Ganz, R. Avraham Horowitz, his son the Shne Luhot ha-Berit, אא"ז the Tosafot Yom Tov, the Shakh, the Noda b’Yehudah, the Teshuvah me-Ahavah, and R. Shlomo Yehudah Rappaport (among others). Ah, what those walls saw. If they could but speak. They cannot, however, speak. More to the point, those walls are orphans. If it weren’t for tourists, the Altneushul would be a museum on Shabbat, just as it is during the week. Europe is, and will remain, the Jewish past.

Our future is in Eretz Yisrael.

That awareness is that much more heightened for me as I watch our country under vicious attack, and our children go to war to defend us. Today, Thank God, we need no golem. We need no magic. For the first time in two millennia, we can defend ourselves. We do, however, need God’s help to win this, and every other, war. We need God’s help to silence the Jews who love our enemies. We need God’s help to succor our arms against those enemies. We need God’s help to (re)instill in our fellow Jews the conviction that this land is ours, but only by His Will and at His hand.

והיא שעמדה לאבותינו ולנו.
שלא אחד בלבד עמד עלינו לכלותינו.
אלא שבכל דור ודור עומדים עלינו לכלותינו,
והקב"ה מצילנו מידם.

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