In response to the escalating violence against Jews in Eretz
Yisroel, the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudath Israel of
America has issued an urgent call for Jews everywhere to "gird
and strengthen" themselves in teshuva and tefilloh
and to embrace a number of undertakings in the realms of
tefilloh, tzedaka, limud Torah and mitzvos bein odom
lechavero. The specific undertakings were formulated at an
August 14 meeting of the Moetzes.
The Torah sages' declaration comes in the wake of the recent
Jerusalem bombing that took the lives of 15 innocent Jews,
among them a number of children and babies, and injured more
than a hundred others.
A translation of the statement follows:
All of us are stunned and shaken by the calamities and
violence and the gravely dangerous situation that has
enveloped the lives of our fellow Jews who live in the Holy
Land. At a time of crisis like this, when every eye is lifted
upward, seeking the mercy of Heaven, it is incumbent on us all
to gird and strengthen ourselves with every ounce of our
strength in teshuva and tefilloh, in tzedokoh
and in increasing the merit of Torah, to awaken the mercy
of Hashem on His land and His nation.
And in particular as we enter the days of Elul and the days of
repentance, mercy and forgiveness, a "time of will" stands
before us to increase our service to Hashem and our self-
evaluation as a merit for the Jewish people, as a whole and as
The Torah states: "For which is a great nation that has a G-d
Who is close to it as is Hashem, our G-d, whenever we call to
The sublime pillar of tefilloh needs great
strengthening among us. We need to endeavor to daven
with concentration and sincerity before the Creator and
not by rote, in a habitual manner, cholila. There are
also important halachos in this area: the prohibition of
conversation at times of tefilloh or Torah-reading, the
requirement to answer "Omein, yehei shmei rabboh." with
all one's concentration, and other aspects of praying that
some do not treat with sufficient care. We deem it appropriate
at this time to call attention in particular to three areas in
the realm of tefilloh.
1) Each Jewish man should accept on himself during the
upcoming days of divine mercy and concern to be very careful
regarding davening with a minyan, that all his
tefillos, Shacharis, Mincha and Ma'ariv, be part
of a "prayer of the multitude" that is always heard.
2) No one should skip over any part of Pesukei Dezimrah.
One should arrive early enough at shul to recite
all of the poetry and praises therein with emotion, care and
heartfelt will, as is mentioned in the poskim.
3) All Jews should continue to pour forth special prayer each
day through the recitation of Tehillim's chapters 83,
130 and 142. Righteous women too should undertake to say these
chapters of Tehillim in their homes each day, and to
set aside a coin for tzedaka for the poor of Eretz
We also see to advise that, in addition to regular shiurim
and "set times" for Torah study, Jewish men establish a
time during these coming days for study of masechta Yuma's
Perek Yom Hakippurim, and to complete the entire perek
during the 40 days from Rosh Chodesh Elul until Yom
Kippur, haboh oleinu letovoh. This study should be
undertaken specifically and especially for the merit of our
fellow Jews who live in the Holy Land.
And aside from all of the above, "the heart knows well the
bitterness of one 's soul" -- how incumbent it is upon us at a
time when the judgment of people is being weighed, to awaken
ourselves to perfecting our actions and our attitudes, that we
increase our charity and gifts to the poor, to lift up the
spirits of those who are lowly and downtrodden.
May Hashem, the Guardian of His people Yisroel, accept our
mitzvos and hear the sound of our pleas with mercy and
concern, and inscribe us in the book of good life and the book
of redemption and salvation -- may it be His will.
Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America
21 Menachem Av, 5761