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    There have been many who have responded to the October 7th massacre on paper. They may have dealt with military or political issues, moral questions, or other pertinent issues. Many in the Orthodox Jewish community obviously have turned towards our mesorah to seek answers on how to respond to this unfathomable disaster.

    Rav Moshe Taragin, who is one of my Rebbeim, is a Ra”m in Yeshivat Har Etzion, widely published columnist, public speaker, and popular lecturer on YUTorah has been particularly prolific since the start of the war, and his thoughts have now been collected into a single volume. In this collection he deals with nearly all the emotional and spiritual issues all of us have been experiencing since Simchat Torah- Loss, confusion, anger, abandonment, and so on.

    One unfortunately notable thing is that Rav Taragin also lost multiple talmidim during the conflict, and his reflections on their loss is particularly powerful. When talking about the loss of Dovid Schwartz and Yakir Hexter hy”d (who, for background, were part of my year in the Gush), he writes “A rebbe looks into the future, planting seeds which one day, b’ezrat Hashem, will germinate into a life of Torah, morality, family, country and idealism. Every talmid brings a world of potential and possibility. Tragically my hopes and dreams for Dovid and Yakir have now been cut short. All that remains is a gaping hole of potential unfulfilled. In place of a future, there is only sadness.” This quote is obviously incredibly heart-wrenching and shows the depth of
    emotional sorrow our nation has experienced, as has Rav Taragin individually. However it also displays the idealism that lies behind the tragic loss of two young men. Their loss feels as if it is in vain, but this reflection shows that it, perhaps, is not.

    Rav Taragin also deals with the “day after” and reflects on the spiritual and social changes that have taken place in Israeli society since the outbreak of the war. When discussing the issue of drafting Hardeim, he states “This bridging of the Orthodox world around a common consensus is gradually unfolding, but will take many generations to fully evolve. It can’t be measured solely in how many Charedim enlist but must be gauged in the cultural shifts occurring within the broader Orthodox world. The war has awakened a deep and soulful connection to our land and our people, a connection which loud ideological pronouncements cannot capture.” While this is perhaps too forgiving to the leadership of the Haredi community, his point is still well made. Among both the ultra-Orthodox, as well as the ultra-Secular among us, there has been a cultural shift towards a more comprehensive achdut. It is noteworthy that Rav Taragin chooses to also focus on the future of our people, as well as the present, when so many others unfortunately cannot.

    Overall, I hope that Rav Taragin’s reflections, especially on war, loss, and,דרוש וקבל שכר become antisemitism that this area of our tradition should be theoretical. However, while the specter of war still hangs over the Jewish people, we have no better individual than my Rebbe to guide us through this time and into a better future. To paraphrase the title, there may be dark clouds above, but there is faith and a better future waiting just below.