Dear Aish Family,

We live in terrifying times. Just over the past week there have been several antisemitic incidents in New York and New Jersey. Around the world, Jews are worried about the increase in hate directed towards our families. Jews getting beaten in the street has become a common occurrence.

For two thousand years since our exile from Israel many have sought to put an end to the Jewish “nuisance.” Many of our Jewish brothers and sisters have been slaughtered in the name of finding the “Final Solution” to the Jewish problem. I keep a copy of Mein Kompf in my office in Jerusalem to remember how determined our enemies are.

Try as hard as so many have, the Jewish people has always continued and only gotten stronger. Where does this strength come from? I saw this lesson on a very personal level this past week.

My father-in-law, Mr. Stephen Kosberg, was truly an amazing person. He was one of the nicest people you could have ever met. He never raised his voice in all the years that I knew him and he treated everyone he met with respect.

Although he did not grow up with a Jewish education he became very dedicated to attending minyan and studying Daf Yomi. Daf Yomi is the study of one page of Talmud every day. Every seven years the entire Talmud is completed by thousands around the world. Next week many will gather around the globe for this important Jewish celebration. My children all remember their “Popa” sitting in our home with a Gemorah constantly in his hands.

My father-in-law had a Chavrusa (study partner) named Barry Steiner with whom he studied the tractate of Sanhedrin for twenty three years. They studied once a week and finished approximately a third of the book. It was known in our family that Popa died in the midst of Tractate Sanhedrin.

My son Elie, who is studying in Yeshiva Shaalvim this year, decided that he would complete Sanhedrin with his Chavrusa, Asher Schreier in memory of his grandfather. The Yahrtzeit (anniversary of death) was today, the fifth day of Chanuka so they planned the siyum for Chanuka. You can watch the Siyum here.  Elie called my mother-in-law to tell her and she started to cry. Unbeknownst to my son, his grandfather’s Chavrusa decided to finish the tractate as well and would also be making a siyum on Chanuka. They spoke for the first time this past week.

This is the secret of what has kept the Jewish Nation strong. The Almighty gave his children a gift called the Torah that would connect us to each other. Even though my father-in-law passed away, he is not really gone. His grandson and Chavrusa have continued in his place. This is what we call the Mesorah, our heritage. It is a bond so strong that our enemies cannot even conceive of something that true and good in the world.

We must continue to study Torah amongst our families. We must continue to teach our children Torah. We must continue to teach ALL Jews Torah. This has been and always will be the secret weapon behind Jewish survival. Best wishes for an inspirational and Torah filled Chanuka.

Shabbat Shalom, Happy Chanukah and Chodesh Tov!

Leave a Reply