Chabad Rav in Kyiv, HaRav Moshe Azman, who is currently providing shelter for hundreds of Jews in the village of Anatevka, west of Kyiv, posted a stirring video on Wednesday about the plight of Jews left in Ukraine and called on Russians and Russian Jews not to remain silent.
Clutching a Sefer Torah in his arms, HaRav Azaman began by introducing himself: “My name is Rav Moshe Reuven Azman. I’m a father of 11 children and I have 24 grandchildren. . I was born in Leningrad. Many of my relatives died during World War II. Many of my relatives were officers and were decorated with medals, some fought against the Nazis in forests, as partisans.”
“I’m turning to the Rabbanim in Russia, to the Jews in Russia, to the people of Russia, with one message: Stop the war! Don’t believe what they’re telling you on TV. They’re lying to you. They’re committing war crimes. The Russian army that struck the Nazis in 1941 today are bombing Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa – the civilian populations!
“People are calling me all day – Jews and non-Jews- asking for help. I’m busy all day helping and saving innocent residents – the elderly and small children. Grandmothers are calling me saying that they’ll die without their medications. Mothers call me and say that because of the bombing, they don’t have food to feed their children. Our volunteers are working at risk of their lives.”
“I didn’t leave. I’m here. Because I’m not indifferent and I won’t leave my kehilla. I’m a Rav in Ukraine and I’m proud that I have the honor of saving people and being on the side of light and not on the side of murder.”
“I was silent but I can no longer remain silent. Those who are indifferent, those who are silent are partners in crime! Military crimes. Crimes against humanity!
“I’m telling you that I’m not afraid to die, I’m not afraid to lose my life. I never thought in my worst dreams that I would die by shelling from Russia, where I was born, where I learned, where I have many friends. They’re all silent and almost none of them called. And people are calling me from all over the world, even Arabs from Israel called – to see how I am.”
HaRav Azman then compared the behavior of the Israeli army, who use precision weapons to eliminate terrorists so as not to harm nearby civilians, to that of the Russian forces, who are using GRADS, tanks, ballistic missiles, aircraft against civilians.
“Wake up people! And if chas v’chalilah I have to die, then let be the curse on those who are silent and silently participate in this terrible attack.”
“I stand with the holy Torah. This Torah was given to us by Hashem. And with this Torah, I’m requesting that you wake up. I’ll say the words that our fathers said when they dragged them to Babi Yar. They said: ‘Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem Echad.’ Jews say this passuk before they die.”
“I will live. I want to live. I want to help people. But I know and believe if we’re all united with the light, with a little light we can drive out a lot of darkness.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)