Today is Friday the 26th of Iyar 5755 and May 15, 2015*
The main purpose of my trip to the Holy Land at this time was to erect the monument- Hakamos Matzeiva- for my beloved mother Lorraine Eisenman A"H.
Obviously seeing my children and grandchildren is an added bonus and a wonderful privilege; however, if not for attending the Hokomos Matzeiva of my mother's monument I would not have made the trip at this point.
As I am still in the year long mourning period for my mother and want to attempt to lead the davening whenever I can, I stay close to
Yerushalayim- to home base- where I know a Minyan is accessible.
Often, when observant Jews visit Eretz Yisroel they make a point of going to Mekomos HaKedoshim- kevarim (graves) of Tzadikim in the north to daven,
I wondered if perhaps I should go too, after all, who wants to lose an opportunity to daven by Tzadikim?
I then recalled that I once read in a biography of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Zt"l (Oro Shel Olam page 380) that a student asked Rav Shlomo Zalman, “Isn't there a time I could go to visit the graves of tzadikim? Doesn't Rav Auerbach go and pray by the graves of tzadikim?”
Rav Auerbach answered, “In order to pray at the graves of tzadikim, one doesn't have to travel up to the Galilee. Whenever I feel the need to pray at the graves of tzadikim, I go to Mount Herzl, [the national cemetery for fallen Israeli soldiers in Jerusalem], to the graves of the soldiers…who fell “Al Kiddush Hashem” for the sanctification of G-d."
Therefore, yesterday, I followed in the footsteps of the great Rav
Shlomo Zalman and together with my four sons who are here, I made a pilgrimage to the graves of Tzadikim.
I went to Mount Herzl to daven and pay respects to those who gave
their lives so I could travel freely in the land of Israel.
I went to the grave of Max Steinberg, a former Birthright attendee who was killed last summer, and I went to the grave of Dave Gordon, the brother of our beloved Aryeh and Nomi Ho and a young man who I had the pleasure of knowing.
I went to dozens of graves of soldiers who I never knew and would
never know them and I cried.
I cried for the young souls who died sanctifying the name of Hashem and I cried for the spouses they never had and for the children they were never privileged to bring into this world.
And I cried for others as well.
I cried for those who are lacking the sensitivity of Rav Shlomo Zalman Zt"l.
I cried for those who fail to emulate and take direction from this
giant of Torah and Middos and forget to include Mount Herzl's Military Cemetery in their itinerary of Mekomos HeKedoshim when they come to Eretz Yisroel.
I cried for those Jews who don't even realize that they should be
I cried for those who are not in the world and made the ultimate
sacrifice for our people and I cried for those who are in this world
and don't even realize that they too must cry.
May Hashem wipe the tears of all of His people.
Wishing you a meaningful Shabbos from the Holiest City in the world.
"If Not Now, Then When?"- Hillel
Ron Yitzchok Eisenman, Rabbi, Congregation Ahavas Israel, Passaic, NJ