March 10, 2008

A Rabbi's Grief & Wisdom

Israel TV sent its hardtalk anchorette Ilana Dayan to the bereaved Yeshivat Mercaz Harav for an interview with Rabbi Weiss, five of whose students were slain on Thursday night.

Turning up at the yeshiva in a trouser suit, the secular Dayan's main questions centred on the strength of faith of surviving students. If you can follow basic Hebrew, the interview and the Rabbi's emotional responses are well worth watching on this video

What struck me most was Dayan's final question and the Rabbi's quite poignant reply, as reproduced here from Arutz Sheva:

Q. I would like to ask you, Rabbi Weiss, if despite all, and with all the faith and values that enwrap you, and all that you know and teach, if despite all, perhaps there was a moment that you felt that you might be on the verge of a break.

A. [after reflection:] I will tell you something that comes from a place that you might not expect. I thought [voice breaking, speaking slowly] that, if this place is hit so strongly, then perhaps, it's not right for me to be here at the head of it. Perhaps someone else is needed who is better than me, someone who might not be hit as bad. And if it's because I'm so good that I'm getting hit, then perhaps that also means that I shouldn't be here.

Q. [emotional herself] It still appears to me that the students of this yeshiva have merited to have an outstanding rabbi and educator. Thank you very much.

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