Emuna Outreach, Breslev Israel and the Beams mourn the loss of one of this generation's greatest Torah scholars, teachers and rabbinical lawgivers, Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, obs"m. The Rav was 102, the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word emuna.
Rav Wosner's funeral ended tragically. With over 100,000 people pushing and shoving to get close to the Rav's casket at the funeral procession on Motzaei Shabbat (Saturday night), dozens were trampled and seriously injured, two of whom are now fighting for their lives. A 27-year-old rabbinical student from Elad, Moti Gerber, was crushed to death. His funeral was earlier today. He left behind a wife and a three-year old son. Moti ob"m was a student of Rav Wosner.
The holy tzaddik and Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Zev Leibowitz osb"m, the teacher of my esteemed and beloved teacher Rav Shalom Arush shlit'a, said countless times that there is no forgiveness in Heaven for pushing another Jew.
A few hours ago, the Vishnitzer Rebbe shlit'a said, "Pushing another person is tantamount to bloodshed". He told his Chassidim not to bother coming to his funeral if it means that someone will be pushed.
In Jewish Law we learn that a mitzvah is null and void if it was accomplished by way of a transgression. There are dozens of examples in the Gemara, such as someone who stole an animal and then offered it as a sacrifice in the Holy Temple. Pushing or hurting another person in any way while performing a mitzvah falls under this categoty, called mitzvah haba b'aveira. Not only is such a mitzvah null and void, but disgusting to Hashem.
Our sages teach us that human decency is the prerequisite for Torah and mitzvoth. If attending a funeral or any other public gathering entails pushing, better to back off or stay away altogether. Please don't push another human, for such an act is ugly, arrogant, and totally against Torah values.
Let's maintain a happy Chol Hamoed and start loving one another. If we can't love, then at least respect one another. No more pushing!
The holy Chazon Ish osb"m said that the Downs people and the autistics are the souls of tzaddikim (high righteous individuals) who come into the world to facilitate our soul correction. They need no soul correction, that's why they lack free choice.
Kindness is a trait - and a soul correction - that many "go-getters" of modern society need to learn. So what if the Downs people and the autistics are different? You're right; but, it's better to be kind than right.
One of our most important tasks during the Ten Days of Repentance - the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur - is to sincerely ask the forgiveness of anyone we might have harmed or insulted. If Halacha requires us to be kind to all of Hashem's creatues, we certainly must treat one another with utmost kindness and respect. Gmar Chatima Tova!
Elul is teshuva time. Particularly important is to improve our adherence to the commandments between man and fellow man. Don't miss the opportunity to help someone in need. Here's food for thought, courtesy of our small but very talented media crew at Breslev Israel. Feel free to pass this on to your friends: