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3 Ellul 5761 - August 22, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America Issue an Urgent Call for Teshuva and Tefilloh
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

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 individuals.

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 Him?"

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 Yisroel.

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


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