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Shabbat, November 12, 2022

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Jewish History

Born in 1932, Meir Kahane was a controversial American-Israeli rabbi and activist. In 1968, he founded the Jewish Defense League in New York. With the motto of "Never Again," the stated goal of the organization was to protect Jews from anti-Semitism in all its forms. In 1971, he moved his family to Israel, founding the Kach political party, and he was elected to the Knesset in 1984 (the Kach party was later outlawed in Israel).

In 1990, after concluding a speech in a Manhattan hotel, Kahane was fatally shot by an Egyptian-born terrorist. While strangely acquitted of the murder, El Sayyid Nosair was later convicted in relation to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

On Shabbat morning, Cheshvan 18, 5779 (Oct. 27, 2018), Pittsburgh’s peaceful Jewish enclave of Squirrel Hill was shattered by gunshots as a crazed anti-Semite attacked worshippers at the Tree of Life congregation, killing 11. It was the deadliest attack on Jews on American soil. Reeling from the pain, Pittsburghers struggled to make sense of the tragedy that had befallen their city, and people around the world responded with an outpouring of love, support, mitzvahs and faith.

Daily Thought

There are those who say that before we do any mitzvah, we must first understand why it needs to be done. Why else were we given a mind?

There are others who say we must just obey with simple faith. How else can we bond with One who is entirely beyond our understanding?

Abraham did both. He began with absolute faith, even when it was impossible to make sense of what he had been told to do. Yet he would not leave until his questions were answered and he had been given a way to understand.

“Don’t do a thing to the young man, for now I know that you are a G‑d fearing person.” (Genesis 22:12)

Abraham said to G‑d, “Let me present my case. First You told me that my descendants will be from Isaac. Then You told me to take him for an offering. Now You say I mustn’t do a thing to him…” (Rashi, citing Midrash)

That makes sense. Matters that are beyond our understanding can never be fit neatly into human reason. But neither can they be left in conflict.

Because if what you believe is true, it must be true everywhere. Even within your own limited human mind.