Sunday, November 15, 2009
The Holtzbergs: Kiddush Hashem in life and in death
We are nearing the first yahrtzeit of Rabbi Gavriel and Rebbetzin Rivkah Holtzberg, who were cruelly slain by vile terrorists almost a year ago.
By devoting their lives to spreading Yiddishkeit and Chassidus, the Holtzbergs made a kiddush Hashem, a sanctification of G–d’s Name.
In their death too, they made a kiddush Hashem, for whenever Jews are murdered simply because they are Jews, they are said to have died al kiddush Hashem, for the sanctification of G–d’s Name. And clearly, the terrorists’ intent was to attack Jews. The Chabad House was the most prominent Jewish target in the city of Mumbai, for although there are other shules, they are rarely visited. The main Jewish center in the city, with a rabbi and thriving activities, was the Chabad House. Even the terrorists knew this, so in their craven, obscene desire for barbaric bloodshed, the Chabad House was the place that they targeted.
But the Holtzbergs sanctified G–d’s Name in their death in another very significant sense. On account of them the entire world came to know what is a Chabad House. It is a place where Shluchim, emissaries of the Rebbe, devote their lives to helping Jews materially and spiritually, even in the most poor conditions, and the most far-flung and unholy places. I think it can be said with certainty that the work of the Shluchim had never received anywhere near this degree of publicity. Over the course of the Mumbai attack virtually every single media outlet in the world discussed, whether briefly or at greater length, who the Holtzbergs were and the noble life that they had lived. Of the outreach rabbi and his wife who devoted their lives to help others in such a remote location. Of the work of the Shluchim worldwide. This is surely a tremendous privilege for them, and brings tremendous elevation to their souls.
May their blood be avenged.