Simchat Torah for Our Martyrs
On Simchat Torah, Hashem reminded us that those who celebrate and follow His Torah are protected. What can we do for those who were killed on that day while celebrating a licentious event? A LOT!
All the pundits on podcasts are trying to tell us why the Simchat Torah massacre happened and what they think will happen next. They’re all wrong.
Somebody asked me whether to call the massacre the “Oct 7 Massacre” or the “Simchat Torah Massacre”.
It’s Simchat Torah.
It’s the day Hashem reminded His children, the Jewish people, and the rest of the world that those who dance around His Torah celebrate His blessing and protection. Those who spend their days dancing around a huge idol lose His protection against the savages and monsters of this world.
The IDF can’t protect us. On Simchat Torah, they didn’t. The Mossad, Shin Bet, or American aid didn’t turn away the barbarians at the gate.
The gates that turned away these animals were at the only two kibbutzim in the Gaza Belt that were dancing around the Torah.
This reaffirms the Torah truths in the portion Ki Tavo. It’s a reaffirmation of the Jewish way of life: The life Hashem commands us.
From the day Adam was cast out of Paradise to today, Hashem blesses His people with strength. Hashem blesses His people with peace. (Psalms 29:11)
Hashem makes a distinction between those who follow His Torah and those who don’t. These are the lessons of the Simchat Torah Distinction.
What Happens Next
It’s a hard truth to swallow.
We are at war. Our brothers are still in captivity. The wounds of this horrible catastrophe are still open.
However, we in Israel are strong. In our Land, Hashem blesses us with the mental toughness to accept the truth, and the truth is that we must make repentance. We must return to God.
We must place a carpet ban on idolatry, sodomy, non-kosher foods, and breaking Shabbat or Jewish Holidays that Hashem commands His people.
In his Mishnah Torah, the Rambam tells us that when we are physically sick, what normally tastes good tastes repulsive, and what normally tastes repulsive tastes good. When you get a sore throat, somehow Ginger Ale becomes a delicacy.
The Rambam takes it to the next step by teaching that the same is true for our soul. When we are spiritually sick, things like sex, drugs, clubbing, flashy cars, and all-night gambling binges seem appealing.
Investing the night in Torah study, prayer, and visiting the sick doesn’t seem as enticing – even when we know where the first set of activities will ultimately place us versus the second set of Divine mitzvot.
The secular professors and military analysts, along with many generals and ministers, are talking about conquering Gaza, only to give it back to the PLO or to the local Gazan population on “the day after.” Didn’t Hamas mutate out of the local population? Doesn’t the PLO still pay its citizens a monthly salary to kill Jews?
It’s the Rabbis who are saying we must conquer Gaza and rebuild its Jewish communities so that we can always keep an eye on the Gazans.
For the past 5,000 years of human history, that’s what conquering nations did. They annexed the land and started planting their people on it. The only difference is that God never commanded America to conquer Mexico and start putting its people in their northern provinces of Nevada and California.
We are commanded to live in Gaza because it is part of the Land of Israel.
Following the Rambam’s teachings, the spiritually healthy are the ones who are morally and intellectually healthy. They are the ones who know right from wrong – in everything.
Make Martyrs Out of Them
What will become of those who were murdered on Oct 7? What of those who were violated? What of those 1,200 people who were murdered, raped, and tortured after two days of dancing around an idol and licentiousness?
We send them to the highest levels of heaven.
Every Rosh Hashanah, we are all judged — both the living and the dead.
Hashem judges the living on their actions. But what about the dead? They have no actions to speak of in this world. What will they be judged on?
The dead are judged on the actions they cause after their death.
Suppose a man teaches his children to guard Shabbat every week. If his children continue to keep Shabbat after he passes, then Hashem will judge this man for the mitzvot his children do because he showed them how.
There are countless times where a parent came to a son or daughter in a dream and asked them to perform a mitzvah in this world so the parent could rise higher in the Next World.
Like on earth, heaven has good places and better places. You can live in a simple 2-bedroom apartment in Lod. You save up, get a higher-paying job, and pretty soon, you can move into a nice penthouse in Beit Shemesh. Hashem can pull you from a place in heaven that feels equivalent to the 2-bedroom flat in Lod and elevate you to the heavenly equivalent of the penthouse in Beit Shemesh – or better.
This is what we can do for the fallen.
Every prayer we recite, every charity we give, every kindness we perform, every line of Torah we learn because of what happened last Simchat Torah transforms our brethren into catalysts of mitzvot. Immediately, they are Zicuy Rabin – they bring us closer to Hashem.
They go from victims to martyrs. They go from being buried beneath the earth to vaulted high above the heavens.
They can get judged for performing the greatest mitzvah in the Torah.
If you recite the Shema tonight because of the horrors of October 7 and the lessons learned, it is in their honor. They were the reason you did something for Hashem that you never did before.
God gives you the chance to raise their spirits – literally!
With every step of repentance we make, as individuals, as communities, and as a nation, we elevate Klal Yisrael. Hashem willing, we merit God’s protection against all our enemies. This is also promised in parsha Ki Tavo.
If we learned on October 7 that the curses of parsha Ki Tavo are as real today as they always were, then we know for a fact that the blessings of Ki Tavo – that we will be powerful and prosperous and that Hashem will bless us in victory for everything we do – are also as real today as they always were.
This is the Simcha of the Torah our Father gives us.
David Ben Horin lives in Afula with his family, millions of sunflowers, and Matilda, our local camel. David‘s Israeli startup, 300 Marketing Solutions, is a lean marketing agency for startups and small businesses that creates and promotes SEO-optimized ROI-driven to the right audience on LinkedIn to make your business the star of the show.