Monday, August 4, 2014

A Narrow Escape

You may have read in the news today about two Palestinians who broke into a house this afternoon and attacked the person inside. The house was my sister's house and the person was my niece.

My sister lives in Neve Tzuf, a community of about 300 families in the Binyamin region, several miles north of Ramallah. Her house is, unfortunately right on the edge of the moshav. This afternoon, my 16-year-old niece was home with a friend. She heard noises, and discovered that two Palestinian Arabs had broken in. When they saw her, they started beating her. Her friend rushed to her aid but they beat him too. At this point one of my nephews came home, sounded the alarm, and the Arabs fled.

Thank God, my niece and her friend were not seriously injured. Contrary to some media reports, they were not stabbed, only bruised, but they are very traumatized. The incident appears to have been a burglary gone wrong rather than a terrorist attack, although it's still not entirely clear; and in that part of the world, there's a fine line between the two that can easily be crossed.

(One of my older nieces, Miri Maoz-Ovadia, is the spokeswoman for the Binyamin Regional Council. You can read her article on the incident (in Hebrew) at this link.)

My sister and brother-in-law would be labelled as "settlers." They have two sons and one son-in-law currently fighting in Gaza, and another son who served in Shayelet 13. Most of the world would imagine them to be a family of brutal, cruel monsters. But I, on the other hand, know them all to be mild-mannered, soft spoken, extremely kind people, who voted Labor when they lived in England. They just want to be able to live in their homeland and help the rest of their nation live in peace and security. The monsters are those who would beat up a sixteen-year-old girl.


P.S. To all my close friends, family and neighbors that are reading this - please DO NOT ever mention this incident to my children. Hopefully they will not find out about it for a long, long time.

38 comments:

  1. Glad to hear that your niece and her male friend are safe.
    But I'm wondering if the laws of yichud played a role in this incident. I guess we'll never know...

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    1. of course the laws of yichud played a role - if she had been alone it would have been MUCH worse.......

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    2. actually I do not find your comment moronic at all - I find it quite evil.
      when bad things happen you go looking for who to blame?
      if anyone you know getsw cancer - do you go looking for what halachot they didnt keep?
      I guess we'll never know.......

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    3. If the door of the house is open, or ajar, there is no problem of yichud. To some opinions, even if the door is closed, but not locked, and people can enter any minute, there is also no problem of yichud. (The Arabs and Rabbi Slifkin's nephew clearly had no problem entering the house.)

      We should just be thankful that it didn't end in a tragedy.

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    4. I think its Hashem's retribution for voting labour. Makes even more sense than this accusation. (Sarcasm at foolish accusation / moronic statementn.)

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    5. MiMedinat, lots of Jews have yet to realize that the left-wing politics they supported in chu"l is directly linked to all the anti-Israel feeling they abhor.

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    6. There was no Yihud. She was there. And her male friend was there. AND other people were ALSO there. This is clear in the news articles of the event.

      But either way, what an insane and ludicrous comment.

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    7. Nachum L -- agreed, but my point was against the blaming it on non existent yichud issues

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    8. Mr Just Curious.. your inference is beyond GROSS.. if you think I'm wrong , then be intellectually honest and ask your Rav, let us know what he says please.. ...

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    9. I posted the following comment below, but I wanted to post a reply up here as well so anyone reading the despicable comment above by my apparent doppelganger, "Just curious" (with a lowercase "c"), won't fail to see it:

      After reading the first (abhorrent) comment associated with this post, I just wanted to clarify that I have commented on this blog a few times before using the name "Just Curious" (with a capital "C").

      The commenter above, "Just curious" (lowercase "c"), a soneh yisrael who would seem to suggest that fellow Jews somehow deserved to be attacked as a result of some perceived infraction of the laws of yichud, is most definitely NOT me. And he should be ashamed.

      Thank G-d Rav Slifkin's niece had strong Jewish men to come to her aid, and kudos in particular to his nephew for thwarting the attack and saving his sister.

      Rav Slifkin, rest assured that those of us members of k'lal yisrael who are not self-righteous lunatics rejoice that your family (and their friends) are safe. We wish them a refu'ah sh'leimah.

      "H-shem yishmorcha mikol ra, yishmor et nafshecha. H-shem yishmor tzeitcha uvo'echa mei'atah v'ad olam."

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  2. Just pointing outAugust 4, 2014 at 2:38 AM

    What a moronic comment.
    Thank God that she was not alone and that a male friend was with her!

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    1. Of course the laws of yichud played a role. You see, originally, there was a gzeroh of mavess, but, due to the family being zocheh for understanding koyach dheteiroh odif, the decree was torn up and they were saved.

      Obviously!!

      Or, maybe we should just be thankful these young people were not hurt and leave ridiculous speculations aside?

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    2. You mean we should never speculate about what led to an infiltration by terrorists from a security perspective and just be thankful these young people were not hurt?
      Please.
      Don't you agree that the people living in the area should think about how the infiltration occurred in broad daylight and take measures to prevent them in the future?
      Well, that's exactly what I'm doing.
      I don't consider it "ridiculous speculation" to search for the various causes for such a near-tragedy. Maimonides says that in a time of danger, it is an act of cruelty to ignore any spiritual shortcomings and insist that all calamities simply due to chance.

      This family should be asking themselves (in the privacy of their own minds) why it was their house that was broken into at that particular time out of all 300 families in the town.
      I'm sorry if that sounds offensive to anybody, but this is the classic Jewish response to such an incident.

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    3. The classic Jewish response is for people to do THEIR OWN speculation as to why things happen. Not to lecture OTHER PEOPLE about why things happen to them.

      (Furthermore, your own speculation is particularly ridiculous, because it was the presence of the boyfriend that probably saved her!)

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    4. Observing the Jewish ObserverAugust 5, 2014 at 9:18 PM

      "Just curious" is FKManiac. You can tell his writing style a mile away.

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    5. Let's think about thisAugust 6, 2014 at 2:22 AM

      Is "Just curious" suggesting that leaving the door open or unlocked in order to obey the laws of yichud, could have put people in a sakana and therefore observing the mitzvah led to their danger? Or is he saying they weren't frum enough and that having boy and girl together in the house mystically caused Hashem to throw a punishment at them so that the arabs targeted their house at the edge of the yishuv, when no one else lives as close to the edge of the yishuv but 'just curious' still wants to know why their house and not 300 others. If he is indeed inventing a frummer than thou mystical explanation, I can't help but feel that he is doing so because not only are they from "that settler community" and therefore not haredi, making them easy targets for him, but they are also related to Rabbi Slifkin, so he thinks lashon hara against his political enemy is permitted - exactly the opposite message of tisha b'av. (kind of like but slightly different than hamas and arabs who think any type of violence against Jews is permitted because we supposedly did x y z to them). But maybe not. Maybe he is suggesting that we need to have locked doors to keep potential attackers out. The tone still sounded like he was blaming but the point is maybe worth bringing up?

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    6. Seeing as "Just curious" saw fit to defend his slanderous, insane remarks on or just after Tisha B'ab, before magic terrorists are sent to his house to almost kill him for causing pain a fellow Jew, I would like to ask him whether he thought that his "rebuke" would be genuinely productive and appreciated or was more in the line with the self-righteous tongue lashing the Prophet spoke so eloquently against in the Haftorah that day.

      Please consider more carefully in the future before you make a fool of yourself again. And educate yourself on what is the ACTUAL proper response to a tragedy. And the actual reflection Maimonides was calling for.

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    7. I guess now is the right time to respond directly.
      I've been pretty amused with the extreme ways folks here have been taking my comment.
      If you read it carefully, I wasn't passing judgement either way about what happened.

      "I was wondering if the laws of yichud played any role in this incident."

      Since I don't know the level of Rabbi Slifkin's wider family's religious observance, I figured there are two possibilities:
      Either this niece and her male friend observed the laws of yichud, kept the front door unlocked, and made themselves an EASIER target for the infiltrators by keeping halacha--from a pragmatic, non-religious standpoint,
      or,
      This niece and her friend did not observe the laws of yichud, secluded themselves alone in the house, and were chosen be the infiltrated house because of their violation of the laws of yichud (not necessarily as punishment mind you--be a little open-minded-- its possible they were sent to save them from a more serious transgression).

      Again, I have no clue regarding the level of observance of these people and I am not making any presumptions, but either way, one can contemplate whether the laws of yichud played any enabling role --either practically or spiritually-- in the incident.

      (In hindsight, I really don't think it was wise for Rabbi Slifkin to publicize this incident more than necessary and have his relatives be scrutinized by even more on-line strangers than otherwise. I guess he feels his blogging agenda in posting about it (whatever it is) was worth it. I disagree.)

      In any event, I thought this incident could bring "the legacy of the Rationalist rishonim" back into the blog by raising the question if the laws of yichud may have played a role in the incident. I think it is a fascinating topic to explore and I'm really glad it all turned out okay for the people involved...

      What is ironic is that everyone here immediately assumed I was accusing Rabbi Slifkin's niece and her male friend of some impropriety and then blamed the infiltration on that.
      Maybe you should all look at your own souls before making fools of yourselves with such hasty accusations.

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    8. let's think about thisAugust 7, 2014 at 7:50 PM

      Holy cow, you are insane afterall!

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    9. I'm not qualified to pasken in these areas, but there is even an opinion that says that, even if the door is locked, but family members who have the key can enter any minute--there's still no problem of yichud (especially if this is during the day). Seeing that one of the factors in the Fogel family massacre was that they left the front door open for their daughter to come in later that night--it might be better to rely on this lenient opinion, and still insist on locking the door.

      About "Just curious"'s comments--I guess we should judge him l'chaf zechus, that he's judging others l'chaf zechus.

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  3. Why not mention this to your children? I think that all Jewish children (and even more so adults as well) should know who we are dealing with. And yes let the children know and grow up with the hatred needed to win as well.
    We don't tell our children not to listen to the Parsha dealing with Amalek (and other enemies), if anything its the exact opposite. We must teach them these vital lessons and to know who we are dealing with, our enemies and also the Torah solutions given and needed to be implemented because G-D forbid incidents like these can (as in the past many times) end up must much worse.

    Aryeh Levine

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    1. "all Jewish children (and even more so adults as well) should know who we are dealing with. And yes let the children know and grow up with the hatred needed to win as well. "

      Eichah?

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  4. Wow. So glad they're OK, and hope they recover (refuat hanefesh v'refuat haguf) quickly.

    "Shayetet," by the way. Which is *very* impressive.

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  5. We had a similar incident in Efrat where my daughter lived until recently. Her husband had left to shul one morning and she was working in the kitchen. Suddenly she heard the door of the apt open. She turned and saw an Arab standing in the entrance. With either incredible presence of mind or sheer instinct, she rushed the Arab and slammed the door in his face.

    Turns out he was a burglar. The police found him in the apartment next door.

    Btw, I believe it's Shayetet 13.

    I believe it's Shayetet 13.

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  6. Beheimos.
    One thing Herzl got wrong was that the Jewish state would end Jew hatred. On the other hand, we did not have an army that can smash our enemies when we lived in galut.

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    1. We have a version of it now, in Paris. Too bad the govt. And the jewish community want to shut it down.

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    2. Not beheimos. People like you and me. Parents, children. That's what is so shocking.

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  7. Thank G-d they are safe.
    Since you mentioned that they are "soft-spoken, extremely kind" people despite being settlers, it might also be worth noting that your older niece comes across as very typical settler in her willful naivete. She writes on her post that they were attacked "merely because they are Jews." Sorry, but when Jews get attacked in Paris or Brussels, that qualifies for being attacked merely for being Jews. And you might argue that that applies inside the Green Line (her examples are Nachal Oz and Sderot), especially when attacked by an organization that has genocide in its charter. But where they are living? Give me a break. (Ironically, she wants to call it a terrorist attack rather than a criminal attack because "someone who arrives in [your home] in August in the middle of the day, doesn't come with such 'innocent' objectives. Sorry, but any 'rational' person would say the same thing about someone living where she lives. Hardly an act with innocent political objectives, regardless of how interpersonally kind you are.).

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    1. She was attacked for nationalistic reasons and the whole brand of fakestinian nationalism was buiilt on the concept of killing the Jews amd preventing (now erasing) Jewish statehood. So she was attaccked for being Jewish. Funny you consider it a malicious offense to live in certain places; does this "morality" evolve and it was ok before the govt decided wait we did a crime by living there, we are no longer in favor?

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    2. So is it OK to attack non-Jews living in Israel proper?

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    3. Also, your "explanations" are exactly what the Arabs say to excuse their terror on Jews living in all of Israel (including inside the green line). We committed the "crime" of "occupation" of their supposed homeland, therefore all violence and evil things done to us is permitted, they claim.
      They also say that our act to live in this place that since the 1960's they wish to call Palestine was not with innocent political objectives. (which means what? Good question). You could work for the Fatah propaganda ministry.

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    4. Its scum like you who are the cause of am yisraels tzarot. Erec-rav capos blaming the victims.

      Warren b

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    5. Hamas quotes their filthy Koran and says that they have a duty to kill all Jews. Read their charter. Self-hating capos will never blame the evil, they will blame the victims instead. What will you say now that it is our fault for being born Jewish?

      Warren b.

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  8. I read the article. Thank God the family is safe.

    I urge everyone to find some way to contribute now to Israeli causes. Not only do the families of the soldiers need protection while the men (including reserves) are in the army, but they also need parnasah. The soldiers get some stipend, but probably not enough. Everyone should contribute

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  9. I'm with anonymous: You are being naïve Rabbi Slifkin if you think you can keep this news hidden from your children. Better you should explain it to them in a way(s) suitable to their age level so as not to upset them greatly, then have some stranger blurt it out to them, assuming they know it already.

    Lawrence Kaplan

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  10. I wish to emphasize, as I hope should be clear from my previous comment, that my reason for Rabbi Slifkin's telling his children about the incident is not the same as that of anonymous (Aryeh Levine)

    Lawrence Kaplan

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  11. Baruch Hashem your family is OK.

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  12. After reading the first (abhorrent) comment associated with this post, I just wanted to clarify that I have commented on this blog once or twice before using the name "Just Curious" (with a capital "C").

    The commenter above, "Just curious" (lowercase "c"), a soneh yisrael who would seem to suggest that fellow Jews deserved to be attacked as a result of some perceived infraction of the laws of yichud, is certainly NOT me. And he should be ashamed.

    Thank G-d Rav Slifkin's niece had strong Jewish men to come to her aid, and kudos in particular to his nephew for thwarting the attack and saving his sister.

    Rav Slifkin, rest assured that those of us members of k'lal yisrael who are not self-righteous lunatics rejoice that your family (and their friends) are safe. We wish them a refuah sh'leimah.

    "H-shem yishmorcha mikol ra, yishmor et nafshecha. H-shem yishmor tzeitcha uvo'echa mei'atah v'ad olam."

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