Hope you’re having a great day.
This is an incredibly emotional week in Israel.
And it should be for us as well.
Before celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day?
We remember the precious soldiers of the IDF who fell in battle.
… You may recognize the name Professor Yisrael Aumann.
He’s the Israeli Jew who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2005.
Professor Aumann is also a student of the Talmud.
And was a regular at the weekly Talmud lecture of Rabbi Yisroel Gustman, one of the great Torah scholars of our generation.
Yisrael Aumann brought pride to Israel and to the Jewish People.
He also made the supreme sacrifice.
His son Shlomo fell in battle in Lebanon.
… Rabbi Gustman came to the Shiva home and sat down next to Professor Aumann.
And this is what he said.
“I’m sure you don’t know this, but I had a son named Meir. A beautiful child.
The Germans took him from my arms and killed him.
… I will tell you what is happening in the world of truth. In heaven.
According to our tradition, all Jews killed because they were Jews are holy.
They’re called “Kedoshim”. The “holy ones”.
My son Meir is in a very special place reserved for those holy Jews.
Rabbi Gustman took Professor Aumann’s hand and continued.
“Yisrael. I want you to know something.
In that special place in heaven?
Your son Shlomo has a very special place.
My son Meir died because he was a Jew.
But your son gave his life defending the Jewish People and the Land of Israel!
I was never able to sit Shiva for my Meir.
So let me sit with you a little longer”.
… This story is not meant to be a “downer”!
Rabbi Gustman would not have wanted that.
I had the privilege of knowing him.
Always a smile on his face. He loved life. Loved Torah.
The first time I met him, he kissed me!
Because he loved every single Jew!
… But before we celebrate?
We need to remember those who gave their lives defending the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.
All the best,
Rabbi Moshe Katz
2832W. Touhy Avenue
P 773. 761. 0400 ext. 201