By Rabbi Arye D. Gordon
It was not yet 8:30 pm, the time set for the community gathering, but all seats were filled in Moshe Ganz Hall and many were already standing along the back wall.
It was a solemn gathering on Sunday evening July 28, 2014 at the Moshe Ganz Hall on La Brea. Rabbi Meyer May, spokesman for the over 42 different Shuls, Schools and Jewish Organizations participating in this gathering, made the introductory remarks before the recitation of tehillim.
The senario that unfolded with news on June 12th of the missing 3 teenage yeshiva boys, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach, was only the start of a nightmare.
What began as an intense search for three abducted teenagers ended on Monday June 30th, when their bodies were found buried under a pile of rocks in an open field.
While we were mispalel for their return, safe and sound, it was after 18 days of our pounding on the shaare tefilah and rachmanus, that our hopes were dashed by the devastating news of the murder of these kedoshim. Hashem yinkom damam.
We all had so much hope that this story would not end this way.
“We are gathered here tonight,” began Rabbi May, “ to remember the kedoshim, Naftali, Gilad, Eyal and the many chayalim, soldiers, shemasru nafsham, who gave their lives for klal yisroel. We are here to be mispalel for a refuah sheleima for the many, many wounded soldiers and civilians injured in this battle.”
Rabbi May went on to say, “Not only are we davening for Yisroel, but we are also davening for Acheinu Kol Beis Yisroel bechol Makom Sheheim, for World Jewry.
Unfortunately, Jews are in danger and under attack all over the world.”
Rabbi Gruen stepped forward and led everyone in an emotional reciting of tehillim.
Rabbi Meyer May then introduced Harav Shmuel Kamenetsky, Rosh Hayeshiva, Philadelphia Yeshiva, who was in town and extended his stay to address the Los Angeles Community.
“Our Tza’ar, our pain, is great. Klal Yisroel has the e’tza, the option of tefilah. How can we not but feel the pain and cry out in tefilah to the rebono shel olam? The Rosh Hayeshiva continued to say, “Without tefilah we cannot get anywhere. Everybody must pray together. We must unite together with one aim and one goal. So that the Rebono Shel Olam should send us refuah. That is the greatest unity in klal yisroel, Tefilas hatzibur, united prayer.The Rebono Shel Olam should send us nisim v’niflaos, miracles. May we merit a quick and complete redemption in the immediate future. ”
Rabbi May then introduced Harav Avrohom Ausband, the Rosh Hayeshiva of the Yeshiva of Telshe Alumni in Riverdale N.Y., who was in Los Angeles for his yearly visit on behalf of his yeshiva.
“ When klal yisroel is unified milmata (in our world), then the rebon o shel olam’s name is elevated milmala (in the world above).In his own inimitable manner Rav Ausband offered up a penetrating message to the audience.
“Klal Yisroel is made up of many different people with many different goals in their lives. Each has his own destination and his own purpose in life. Even so, we are unified and united in our belief that Hashem is achud ushimo echad, the One and the only One. The importance in everything we do in life is that we are guided by the understanding and acceptance of Hashem Achad. It is on Yom Kippur, that yom echad b’shana, that special one day in the year that we are tuned in and spend the day connected to the Rebono Shel Olam and unite with Hashem Echad and what is our ammunition? Tefilah. Our guns, our plane? Tefilah. When you come under the protection of the rebono shel olam, then, “haporeis sukkas shalom. Shalom aleinu v’al kol amo yisrael v’al Yirushalayim .May we merit the protection of God and may we see together the coming of Mashiach, quickly and in our time.”
A video of the event was taken by Reuven Fauman of trulymovingstories.com and is available here http://vimeo.com/102046371