“Thoughts” by Rabbi Nachman Seltzer: Conversation With A Five Year Old (My Son) About Hamas Rockets

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It happened last night during Maariv.

Suddenly after a few days quiet in RBS, a siren went off. Everyone in the shul waited anxiously to see what was going to happen and in fact about fifteen seconds later, we heard the sound of a thunderclap and the entire building shook. Literally shook. It left everyone in the building feeling just a little shaken up. Okay, a lot shook up.

I got home from shul a few minutes later.

My five year old son was sitting on the coach feeling very upset.

“Why does Hashem let the Goyim send rockets at us,” he wanted to know.

Before I could even begin to reply, (maybe touching on the concept on doing teshuva etc…) he came up with another question.

“Why did Hashem even create Arabs in the first place?”

These were very good questions and I told him so.

“You think Hashem should have just filled up the entire world with Yidden?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“Everyone in the world has a reason for being here. And yes there are a lot more Goyim then Yidden. But you know how Mommy has a gold wedding ring with a diamond?”

He nodded.

“Gold and diamonds cost a lot more then glass. Why do you think that is?”

He wasn’t sure.

“Because there is a lot more glass in the world than gold and diamonds. A lot of glass, a little bit of gold. So the gold is really special and people are willing to pay a lot of money for it.

In our world,” I went on, “there are a lot of Goyim and not so many Yidden. The Yidden are the gold and diamonds of this world and we are special. That’s why there aren’t that many of us. But Hashem loves us and we should never forget it.”

“How do you know that Hashem loves us?”

“Because Yehuda Tzvi, the Arabs have shot over one thousands missiles all over the country and almost nobody has been hurt by them! That’s how I know that Hashem loves us.

Sometimes we hear that the Arabs try to shoot a missile at us and by mistake they hit their own homes. And they really hurt themselves and there are clouds of smoke over Gaza. But when they shoot those rockets at the Jewish people, so much of the time the rockets fly off in the wrong direction and don’t hurt us and other times we are able to knock them down with the Iron Dome.

It’s a miracle, plain and simple and it tells me that Hashem loves us and protects us.”

“But my heart is beating so quickly!”

I placed my hand on his heart and felt it beating rapidly.

I gave him a hug.

“I know sweet boy, I really do. But Hashem loves you. You can go to sleep now and you don’t have to be afraid.”

He fell asleep fifteen minutes later and I thought about all the kids across the country who have been traumatized by the war of the last few weeks and how the sirens they are hearing will effect them for life.

And how it’s part of growing up as a Jew.

And how we have to remember that Hashem loves us even in the darkest times.

And how the fiery explosions of the Iron Dome lighting up the night as they protect us are a sort of silver lining in the blackest of nights.

And how we really are special and deserving of a unique relationship with Him, because of what we do and how we choose to live our lives.

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Rabbi Nachman Seltzer is the author of eighteen books including such classics as “The Network,” “It could Have Been You” series, “Class Acts,” and his newest book “48.”
He is a columnist for TheYeshivaWorld.com & International Hamodia magazine, where his true life stories are beloved around the world.
Rabbi Seltzer heads the Shira Chadasha Boys Choir which just released their fifth album “Am Yisroel.”
He can be reached for comments or regarding speaking engagements at nachmanseltzer@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




5 COMMENTS

  1. His child was right. The Gemara end of mesechta sucah states, that hashem had charata that he created arabs, check it out for yourself!

  2. With all due respect, I believe the Rav’s answer to his son’s query about how we know Hashem loves us is ill-advised. The Rav told his son that the absence of Jewish casualties despite so many rockets is proof hashem loves us. But what will the Rav answer about attacks with massive Jewish casualties, as happened throughout our history? Following the logic of the response he received, the son might reasonably conclude that Hashem hates us when he learns about the Holocaust, or if R”L there are tragic developments in this war, lo aleinu.

    The appropriate answer, I believe, is simply that Hashem tells us in the Torah that He loves us. This is not as immediately convincing to a child (or an adult). It takes a lot of faith. But it is the authentic Jewish response, I believe.

  3. With all due respect to R’ Seltzer, you never answered your child’s question. You explained wonderfully how HaShem love His Yidden but you never explained why then He created the Arabs. Further, lest anyone come to a simplistic, yeshiva sears roebuck MISunderstanding of the Gemara (Succah 52b)cited by RepublicanDemocrat:

    The same Gemara says HaShem also regrets creating the Chaldeans, the exile and the yetzer hara. Seems HaShem has a LOT of regrets… and pretty big ones too, no? Golus? The yetzer hara?

    It is, of course, impossible for HaShem to have “regrets” (chatara) at all. One, “regret” is a human emotion. To ascribe human qualities to HaShem is a form of avodah zara. Two. as we know, “His work is perfect, for all His ways are just.” To imply that HaShem has “regret” would imply something less than perfection in Him. Third, sefer Bereishis tells us that HaShem spared the life of Yishmoel! If He “regretted” creating him, why then did he rescue him from sure death? Did the HaShem make a mistake? Dis He not know how Yishmoel would afflict His beloved Yidden?

    Yet the Gemara does say “regret.” Given the above, how then are we to understand this? The MaHaraL offers an explanation in Gevuros HaShem: these things themselves have no independent claim to exitence. Yishmoel’s existence (in this case) is utterly dependent on an EXTERNAL (to them) purpose and without that purpose, HaShem would not have created them.

    Then what is this purpose? Why does Yishmoel attack us? To get us to build more tanks and bombs and machine guns and iron dome missles? To make us a mighty warrior nation that conquers land and subjugates people, killing thousands in the process? NO!!! “Some in chariots and some in horses but WE remember the Name of HaShem our G-d” Yishmoel’s purpose — the reason he makes war on us — is to cause US to do Teshuvah!

    May klal Yisroel throw away the tools of war, the tools of Eisav, and turn their hearts to their TRUE Guardian who neither slumbers nor sleeps.

  4. ““I know sweet boy, I really do. But Hashem loves you. You can go to sleep now and you don’t have to be afraid.””

    While it is certainly true that Hashem loves His children, how can he simply deny reality to (himself and) his child that the rockets are a terrible danger, Hashem yishmor? There is no guarantee that there would be no more rockets. There is no guarantee that Hashem would continue to perform the nissim that He has.

    “He fell asleep fifteen minutes later and I thought about all the kids across the country who have been traumatized by the war of the last few weeks and how the sirens they are hearing will effect them for life.

    (That word should be “affect”, not “effect”.)

    “And how it’s part of growing up as a Jew.”

    This is terribly wrong. Growing up in a culture of Zionism and war, even more so when that war had hit close to home, R”L L”A, is not at all “part of growing up as a Jew”, though it is, unfortunately, part of growing up as an Israeli.

    To be clear, growing up as a Jew is growing up in the way most conducive to being and becoming a Torah Jew, not at all necessarily to grow up in Israel, especially if they are at war.

    May Hashem keep all His children safe.

  5. I feel for those that have to go through that situation. I agree that we should recognize the miracles. Even though these times are difficult, Hashem is protecting us and loves us. I read a story on a Jewish blog that mentioned about a soldier who tried to knock a missile with the dome but it didn’t work and it was headed for a neighborhood. He called the emergency authorities to come to the area. Then he noticed that a strong wind from the East pushed the missile to the sea. Baruch Hashem he noticed the miracle and decided to learn and do mitzvos