Israel’s chief rabbis, Rabbi Yona Metzger and Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar, issued on Sunday what they termed “A Call for Self-Examination and Awakening.”
The special call is in preparation for the solemn fast day of Tisha B’Av, which Jews worldwide will mark starting on Monday evening, and also following the recent murder of Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira, the Baba Elazar.
“The Three Weeks [between the Tammuz 17 and Av 9 -- Ed.] are days of mourning for the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, but it is not only over this destruction that we mourn,” the rabbis wrote.
“We are also crying over what is going on now,” they continued. “In the past year we have experienced many disasters, all of which were doubled in the horrible disaster of the death of Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira. Not since the killing of the prophet Zechariah has such horror fallen on the people of Israel.”
Quoting Isaiah 57:1 which says, “The righteous is taken away from the evil to come,” the rabbis added, “It is known that in order to cancel a difficult decree from a generation, a righteous man is taken. Who knows how difficult this decree [over which Rabbi Elazar was taken] was?”
Finally, say the rabbis, “There is a greater obligation imposed on every man and woman to rummage through our actions... and remove all the jealousy and hatred, and increase love along with leniency.”
Rabbis Metzger and Amar included a special lamentation for Tisha B'Av which specifically deals with the murder of Rabbi Elazar Abuhatzeira.