Wednesday, September 23, 2009
א"מ עשה למען באי באש ובמים על קידוש שמך
See the original at USHMM
The above video shows a pogrom in Lemberg/Lvov, Ukraine in the summer of '41. The film has been sanitized, some of the more grotesque parts have been removed. It's part of a clip recently released by Reb Steven Spielberg and his film archive, and in the frum community it caused lots of ripples, shocks, waves - you name it. People are shocked to see what they believe to be the "Kedushas Tzion," Reb BenZion Halberstam of Bobov, HY"D, who was killed in Janower Forest in Lemberg on the 4th of Av, 1941. Like many of you, seeing frum Jews being harassed or herded together into cattle cars or lined up to be executed hits especially home for me, much like it would be in any tragedy. We tend to identify more with our frum brethren more than we do with our irreligious ones. But this here - if it is the Rebbe - is something terribly tragic, much more than any picture, even the ones of the Hungarian Rebbes and Rabbonim we showed here previously, as they waited on the ramp to Auschwitz. At least those showed no beatings or violence against them.
What can one say when he sees such unspeakable acts being carried out against such righteous Jews, one who took a real initiative and proactively traveled around Poland and Galicia establishing Yeshivos and saving Jewish neshomos from the temptations of the day? He can sit and cry, and he ask Hashem to end all of this already. There is debate as to whether or not it IS actually RBZH, but if not him then it's still a Yid, a Baal Tzureh, a kadosh who died only because he was Jewish, and especially because he carried the tzelem elokim with him, despite the extra difficulties it posed. Some of you may find it distasteful or worse, and you may condemn me posting it here, but I think it does provide a very important purpose for those of us alive today. It teaches to mourn for the lost souls and to remember what they accomplished. Maybe I'd feel differently about this if I was a Bobover Chossid, but I haven't seen any outcries from the Bobovers on the WWW, despite maybe the khisoren being them. Maybe we can shed an extra tear this YK, and maybe, just maybe, this will tip the scale in our favor this year.