Sunday, July 23, 2006

When Jews are suffering

The gemara in Taanis 11a explains how a Jew should act when other Jews are suffering.

תניא אידך בזמן שהצבור שרוי בצער אל יאמר אדם אלך לביתי ואוכל ואשתה ושלום עליך נפשי
אלא יצער אדם עם הצבור שכן מצינו במשה רבינו שציער עצמו עם הצבור שנאמר (שמות יז) וידי משה כבדים ויקחו אבן וישימו תחתיו וישב עליה וכי לא היה לו למשה כר אחת או כסת אחת לישב עליה אלא כך אמר משה הואיל וישראל שרויין בצער אף אני אהיה עמהם בצער

When the public is afflicted a person should not say I will go home, I will eat and drink and only worry about myself. ... A person should suffer together with the public, as we find that Moshe Rabbenu suffered together with the public, as is written: "But Moshe's hands were heavy and they took a stone and put it underneath him and he sat on it" (Shemos 17:12). Did Moshe not have even one pillow or mattress to sit on? Moshe, however, said: "Since Yisroel are suffering, I will also share in their suffering"

In line with this I saw that R' Elyashiv and R' Steinman stated that school trips should be cancelled even to safe places because when Jews are being killed we shouldn't be going to have fun on trips.

Every person needs to figure out how to apply this Gemara to themselves, but we should not just go about our daily lives as if nothing is going on.

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