Strength from Pain

26 Nov 2014

Rabbi Avi Berman (r) speaks with the family of  Zidan Saif.
Rabbi Avi Berman (r) speaks with the family of Zidan Saif.
I went to visit the family of Zidan Saif today. (Editor’s note: For those who do not know Zidan Saif was the Druze police officer who was the first responder on the scene of the Har Nof synagogue attack). There were no other visitors when I got there, and his parents and wife were extremely grateful that I came.

They told me that they are very impressed with the amount of religious Jews who have come to visit them. I told them that I represent the Orthodox Union and hundreds of shuls across North America and this really touched them. In fact, they kept repeating this to visitors who came in during the two and a half hours that I spent there.

Growing up in Israel and serving in the army with Druze soldiers, I always knew that there was a brotherly covenant between us, but it was only today that I realized what that means. Zidan was a traffic police officer so this was not his area, and even for a policeman trained for attacks protocol dictates waiting for back-up. But, he did not hesitate to run to the scene and his bravery saved who knows how many Jewish lives.

As many know, this attack hit very close to home. The location of the attack is where I made my oldest son’s bris and where my nephew’s bar mitzvah was just 3 months ago. My grandparents’ apartment is on Agassi Street as well as Rabbi Gold’s apartment and shul. It is a place I have been to thousands of times, and the kedoshim are people I have davened with and will never see again.

This past week, the street held thousands of people who came to the levayah and thousands more going up the block from house to house to be menachem avel. I am sure you have heard about the strength of these families. Wives, children, parents and siblings who, with all their pain and tears, are giving strength to the community. Already at the shiva houses I saw older sons taking more responsibility to help their younger siblings. The brave and holy wives are now trying to figure out how to move on without their partners.

This week I saw different families in different parts of the country, dressed differently and with different customs, showing tremendous strength. With all the pain, they provide a clear message that Israel and its people will only grow stronger.

May Klal Yisrael know no more sorrow.

Read Artuz 7’s report on Rabbi Berman’s visit.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.