The following are excerpts from an interview conducted by Chadrei Chareidim with Rabbi Meir Peretz, the father-in-law of Asher Pamer (25) HY”D and grandfather of his infant son Yonatan HY”D, killed in a rock-throwing attack in the Kiryat Arba area last month.
Chadrei Chareidim (CC): On Rosh Hashanah we dipped and apple in honey, davening for a sweet year. This past week, you lost a son-in-law and grandson. How was the yomtov for you?
Rav Peretz (RP): With a great measure of pain. The pain of bereavement is a heavy burden. My daughter is young, 27, and now a widow. They murdered the father and the son, on the same day. Regarding a beheima (cow) we learn to have compassion, that we may not slaughter a mother and child on the same day (Chulin). Here, with human beings, they slaughtered both.
We must turn to Hashem with Yirmiyahu’s words, “You killed and you did not console”. First and foremost we must understand this is from Hashem. His shluchim, the Arabs, may their memory be erased, that is another matter…
He was traveling with an infant, and as he traveled, they directed a large rock at his vehicle at high speed, leading to an accident, killing them both.
CC: How do you explain that when an Arab is murdered, they immediately point to a Jew as being responsible yet when a Jew is killed, in this case, at least in the onset, both the IDF and police stated this was an accident, nothing more – not in any way connected to Arab terror.
RP: This is the result of 2,000 years of galus, apparently we are still not healthy, still in the healing process. We have still not learned apparently. I said that in every nation there are anti-Semites, those against the Jews. I am in Hebron for almost 42 years, so I have an idea of what goes on here and in Yehuda and Shomron. There has always been an effort to downplay incidents against us, saying it’s an accident. This is apparently a problem among the Jews. Perhaps they have a reason, wishing to quiet the matter, but to publically proclaim this on the radio!
They were traveling at 120 KPH (72 MPH) and he was traveling 70 KPH (42 MPH) or 80 KPH (48 MPH) and they guy in the rear three the large rock at the window, traveling in the opposite direction, resulting in an impact in the area of 200 KPH (120 MPH). That is why they are saying it occurred 18 times. There were other cases, with injuries and serious injuries, but to our sorrow, my son-in-law was less fortunate.
The IDF no longer does impromptu inspections and the inspection checkpoints were all removed.
CC: There are many, in contradiction to the view of most chareidim, who believe the State of Israel represents “Reishit Tzemichat Geulateinu”, the beginning of the Redemption. Do you think this is so when our own government seeks to take this attack and turn it into a simple unfortunate accident?
RP: I will tell you like this. That trend of trying to downplay the events compels us to view the half full cup, not the half empty one. Of course there is much requiring a tikun. From a simple intellectual perspective, we see that we are enduring difficult times, but we are enduring.
I understand that a computerized computation was done, taking our army statistics, weapons, number of people and so-forth, calculating our chances against the enemies around us. The computer indicated that we haven’t a chance. Nevertheless, we are continuing.
We held a respectable funeral, at night, and we were not scared. They are buried in the Ancient Jewish Cemetery in Hebron, alongside the victims of the 1929 massacre and the great rabbonim buried there. The two were place alongside one-another and we are preparing a single tombstone for them.
CC: How is your daughter holding up following this tremendous loss?
RP: It is difficult. Over yomtov she frequently questioned, asking Hashem “why couldn’t you at least leave me one of them”. I hope she will have the strength to endure. After the Malach HaMaves (Angel of Death) strikes, it is most difficult. We are close to Hashem.
I davened the entire yomtov to Hashem that He should have mercy and dilute the pain of bereavement which is most difficult for us. I am thankful that she is still alive. She could have been in the vehicle too.
CC: Rav Meir, this is not the first pain you have know, not the first bereavement. You lost another child in a vehicular accident a number of years ago. What can you tell us, to strengthen Am Yisrael during the Aseres Yimei Tshuva, from the place you are in.
RP: (In a voice choked with tears) I have Baruch Hashem merited many years in the Ma’aras HaMachpela. I am part of an evening kollel in the Holy Site. Let me explain. Our problem is between man and man. Between man and HaKadosh Baruch Hu, he has forgiven but between ourselves, that is another matter.
We recite the davening, admitting our guilt and transgressions, but between one another, spouse, at the workplace, there is no forgiveness. If we could accomplish this, I am confident this would all end. We would not need building inspectors in Yerushalayim to resolve the disputes between neighbors for such incidents would end. If we did this, all of this would not be occurring. This is where we must work. As soon as one begins adding to his home others, neighbors line up to turn him over. The opposite must be the case; we must line up to assist. This is just an example but this is the direction that demands our focus.
I merited davening in the Beit Knesset of Rabbi Provovsky Baruch Hashem, a major talmid chacham, and we see they davka appointed a Sephardi Rav because of his stature. That is what it is about, to tear down these barriers. My wife is Ashkenazi and we have sons-in-laws this way and that. I see the love between them. Each ethnic group of Am Yisrael has is good and we must find the good in all, that is the wisdom.
CC: I want to wish you a good year with all its brochos.
RP: I bless all with a good and sweet year. May Hashem do so! It is 5772. 72 is the gematria chessed. May the year be one of chessed. What occurs is not simple, not easy, but Hashem is with us.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)
I believe many insurance plans do not cover deaths due to acts of terrorism. Maybe the IDF was trying to do the family a favor. Maybe the widow would be better taken care of if it had been an accident. Maybe we should leave politics out of this.
Maybe #1 you are dreaming..
Wake up and smell the felafel balls frying.