Badatz: Minimize News, Increase Torah, Tefillah, Bitachon

The Crown Heights Beis Din issued a letter with suggestions on how to respond to the situation in Eretz Yisroel, including increasing emunah, learning and Tehillim, and minimizing reading the news.

The Crown Heights Beis Din issued a letter with suggestions how to respond to the situation in Eretz Yisroel, including increasing in emunah, learning and Tehillim, and minimizing reading the news.

The letter, signed by Harav Avrohom Osdoba and Harav Yosef Braun, was released in Hebrew, and a free translation is presented below:


In response to overwhelming questions brought forward in these trying times, we offer the following

First and foremost, strengthen Emunah and Bitachon. Though we do not understand Hashem’s ways, we are cognizant of the principle that everything Hashem does is ultimately for the best. It is actually our certitude that can affect this goodness to be expressed in a relatable and revealed manner, as per the aphorism of our Rebbes (the telling of which also gives us the power to enact): “Tracht gut vet zein gut—think positively and it will be good!”

Each of us is thus enabled to influence and strengthen our family members and friends by comforting and uplifting them with our positive attitude (which simchah in itself has the power of mollifying Hashem’s judgments), drawing from the many assurances of our prophets and the words of Chazal about the imminence of the Geulah, especially as emphasized by the Rebbe in many sichos that focus on this topic—and not, chas veshalom, sharing any negative talk.

Refrain, as much as possible, from getting caught up in following the news, and specifically, avoid completely those sites that share graphic footage of the genocide and capture. It serves no practical purpose, and to the contrary, can cause depression, anxiety and lasting trauma.

Participate in public gatherings of Torah, tefillah, and tzedakah—also within each family, focusing on the recital of the 12 pessukim by children, as the possuk in Tehillim promises: it is from the mouths of babes that we garner strength to destroy the enemy.

Add in saying Tehillim, copiously, as directed by the Rabbanim in Eretz Yisrael. The Torah states clearly (in Tehillim) that without Hashem’s guardianship, any human surveillance is for nought. However, it is self-evident that we must do all we are able to within the natural setting for our nation’s security, as is the psak of Shulchan Aruch, regarding border cities, where, should the enemy come even with innocuous requests, we transgress Shabbos to go to battle with them, for that location could prove a launching ground for conquering the land.

In a similar vein, Halachah declares that we are obligated to kill in self-defense, and not engage in negotiations and compromise. And especially, we have the overriding principle of guarding the integrity of our Holy Land, as is proclaimed in the Rashi at the very beginning of this week’s parshah (the beginning of the whole Torah, which was read on the actual day of the attack): “Should the nations of the world tell the Jews, ‘You are robbers for you captured the Land from the seven nations!’ you should respond, ‘Look, the entire world belongs to Hashem…He saw it fit to take it from them and give it to us!’”

It is certainly momentous that these events unfolded on the day of Shemini Atzeres, which is celebrated as an expression of Hashem’s love for the Jewish people—as in the parable of the king who parties with all his subjects for seven days, but when they depart, he tells his closest people, “Stay one more day, just you and me!” We are subsequently confident and trusting in a complete victory for the Jewish nation. As we are assured by the commentary of the Baal Shem Tov on the possuk, “it is a time of צרה (misfortune), and from within it we will be rescued,” that not only will we eventually be saved, but from the actual hardships will come our delivery. The word צרה can be rearranged to read צהר—a bright light. And such was our experience in the Yom Kippur War fifty years ago.

May Hashem fulfill now that which we davened for over and over throughout the days of this past Yom Tov (and especially on Simchas Torah itself), that our enemies scatter and our haters flee. Additionally, we should experience what we just read in the kriah on Simchas Torah (in Moshe’s final brachos to Bnei Yisroel): “May his hands do battle for him, and may You be a help against his adversaries…(and) strike the loins of those who rise up against him and his enemies, so that they will not recover.” And, “He will gore peoples together [throughout all] the ends of the earth; …tear the arm [of his prey, together] with the head.” Further: “Your locks are iron and copper.” (Rashi explains that this possuk refers to the border cities of Eretz Yisroel that block in the enemy and prevent them from advancing into the land, as if sealing its gates with locks and bolts of iron and copper.) And finally: “He expelled the enemy from before you, and said, ‘Destroy!’ …you will tread upon their (the enemy’s) heights.”

May it be Hashem’s Will that the words of the Navi Yeshayahu be fulfilled and we will no longer hear violence (חמס) in our Land, nor robbery or destruction within our borders, and only goodness and kindness will find us—may it be immediately and publicly. Most especially, may we experience, heartily and joyously, the complete and everlasting Geulah through Moshiach ממש ומיד תיכף.

Horav Avrohom Osdoba
Member of Badatz

Rabbi Yosef Yeshaya Braun
Member of Badatz

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