AMALEK AND THE SHOOTING—PRAY FOR THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IN PITTSBURGH
Do not miss this beautiful op-ed about the individuals who were injured and killed at Tree of Life. Take to heart this connection between Holy Scripture and what happened last weekend. Would you like to explore the heart of God for the Jewish people? Sign up for God Keeps Covenant: God’s Heart for Israel. Click HERE.
Then he (Abraham) said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?” He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” (Gen 18:32)
There are not so many of us Jews in the world—something like 0.2% of the population—so we pride ourselves on punching above our weight. We introduced some of the foundational ideas of Western civilization: the sanctity of human life, uniform morality, freedom, concern for the downtrodden, the weekend.
Sadly we are also above average in attracting evil people who hate what we stand for. This murderer, like all anti-Semites, resents the ideas that we carry in this world. Concern for the downtrodden? Who’s more downtrodden than a refugee?
The archetype for all anti-Semites is Amalek. His cowardly specialty was picking off the old, weak and infirm stragglers at the back of the Exodus pack. Saturday’s murderer was Amalek brought to life, as he mainly killed old and mentally challenged members of all three of the resident congregations.
For a couple of years, I was the head of a congregation that merged with Tree of Life; for many years I was a late-arriving regular at the Shabbat morning service that was attacked. I knew five of the people who were murdered. They were more than good and lovely people. They were the stalwarts who would show up on time and help out.
Rose Mallinger, 97, would always be there, sitting next to her sister. Saturday she was next to her daughter Andrea who, like the whole family, is possessed of a permanent smile. Andrea was shot. Rose was murdered.
Cecil Rosenthal, 59, knew my wife from childhood. He had special needs and a youthful exuberance. His younger, thinner brother, David, had a more serious mien and spoke less. He too had special needs. Like his older brother, he was murdered.
Irv Younger, 69, was a sweet man with a shock of white hair who would do anything that needed to be done at the shul. Murdered.
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66, was a member of Dor Hadash, a synagogue that rented space in the social hall. A family doctor, he escaped the initial assault and returned to help the survivors. He was murdered.
Because we are so few, we feel pain when a Jew is in trouble anywhere. When someone is killed by a terrorist in Israel or held captive in the former Soviet Union, it is very much our business. We are used to making calls to see if our friends or relatives throughout the world were hurt in an attack. Now it is our turn to receive those calls.
What happened to our wonderful, close community Saturday has now become the business not only of Jews but of all civilized human beings. The heartbreak will never go away. The best way to honor the people who were murdered would be to emulate their decency and goodness.
In last week’s Torah portion, we read about how Abraham bargained with God to preserve the occupants of Sodom. Beyond their signature activity, the Sodomites committed real crimes related to their treatment of strangers. Abraham asks for God’s forbearance if he can find 10 good men in the city. He couldn’t, and subsequently 10 became the minimum number for a Jewish prayer service. The number of Jews murdered at the Tree of Life Saturday was 11.
Mr. Weiss is a Pittsburgh carpet salesman. (Lou Weiss article in The Wall Street Journal)
Partner with Us
Intercessors for America is the trusted resource for millions of people across the United States committed to praying for our nation. If you have benefited from IFA's resources and community, please consider joining us as a monthly support partner. As a 501(c)3 organization, it's through your support that all this possible.