Honoring That Which They Wanted to Degrade

Thus writes Rabbi Yoni Lavi: “A shock wave was felt yesterday in the face of the painful pictures of the synagogue that was desecrated in Jerusalem. It’s been many years that there have been those who have tried to burn the books of the Jewish People, to hurt their soul through harming their Torah. The enemy can burn the parchment on which the Torah was written, but not the contents of the Torah. It is always like this. Our body can be harmed, but our spirit and soul cannot be destroyed. According to Halacha, there are two events in which our response towards them is similar: when a person passes away and when a Torah scroll is desecrated and burned. In both cases we tear our clothes as a sign of our sorrow. Why? Because we do not view a Torah scroll as a collection of texts, just as we do not view a person who passed away as a collection of body organs which joined together in one place; rather, we view them as a soul. Symbolically, we express our mourning by tearing our clothes, and we remember that the message contained in the Scroll can never be torn or burned. So what is the role of all those who are exposed to such an event? The police will do their job to capture the rioters, but the role of each one of us is to take responsibility – to sanctify even more that which they tried to desecrate, to give even more honor to that which they wanted degraded.”

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סיון רהב-מאיר

Sivan Rahav-Meir is a media personality and lecturer. Married to Yedidya, the mother of five. Lives in Jerusalem. She works for Israel TV news, writes a column for Yediot Aharonot newspaper, and hosts a weekly radio show on Galei Zahal (Army Radio). Her lectures on the weekly Torah portion are attended by hundreds and the live broadcast attracts thousands more listeners throughout the world.
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