Tuvia Stern, the Charedi man beaten on Sunday by Bet Shemesh extremists has asked me to post the following message.
R' Stern we salute your courage. Readers are encouraged to leave messages of support on the comment thread.
I wanted to share a few words with you about my feelings the past few days. Yesterday, I spent much of the day crying – how could a Jew do this to another Jew? I think I was crying so hard because there is no real answer to that question.
As I cried, I reminded myself of this past Erev Rosh Hashanah. I had the privilege of standing by the kever of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in Uman along with tens of thousands of other.
Among the many tefilos that came out of my heart, I asked Hashem to bring peace to the city of Bet Shemesh. That the people who support violence should have their eyes opened and that the various communities should be able to live with their differences and have the problems worked out through peaceful means.
As part of my introspection, I thought about violence and how it destroys our lives, families, and cities. Violence derives from the belief of "kochi veotzem yadi" – that power comes through physical force.
Rabbi Nachman taught otherwise. He wrote in his sefer, Likute Moharan, that the main weapon of the Messiah – and, in fact, each individual Jew – is prayer. We have to engage the physical world. However, our true power comes from Hashem through our tefilos, through our "voice" and not our "hand."
I ask that everyone who cares take time out and say a few words to Hashem. We should pray that violence – in all of its manifestations, on all levels, personal and communal – have no part in our lives.
If we can take Rabbi Nachman's message as a response to what happened, and then apply it to ourselves, then I think that we are on the right path.