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A Long Message from a Short Life

Refoel Pride

Wednesday, October 22, 28 Tishrei. A vicious terrorist plows his car into a crowd of civilians. The immediate casualty was three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun. Still struggling to digest the horror that has irrevocably altered his children’s lives, Chaya Zissel Braun’s grandfather conveyed unshakeable emunah to the media that gathered outside the shivah home. And for all of us who can’t shake the image of that sweet face, the picture of innocence and trust, he has a message to share.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The autumnal gloom of a Jerusalem evening was pierced by the bright lights of television crews last Thursday night, as Rabbi Shimshon Halperin of Monsey stood to face the media outside the Mattersdorf apartment building where his family was sitting shivah for his three-month-old granddaughter Chaya Zissel Braun Hy”d, murdered al kiddush Hashem by an Arab terrorist the previous day. Rabbi Halperin, the son of noted talmid chacham, businessman, and philanthropist Rabbi Raphael Halperin z”l, made the most of the opportunity of his appearance before a largely secular media audience. He was determined to broadcast a message of fortitude, complete acceptance of the Divine decree, and the urgent need of inspiration for avodas Hashem and limud haTorah. “[Chaya Zissel’s parents] believe with emunah sheleimah that HaKadosh Baruch Hu is the only leader in the world, that Hashem controls every movement and does everything in the world, and this decree, which looks bad, they are mekabel b’ahavah,” said Rabbi Halperin of his daughter Chana Halperin Braun and her husband, Rabbi Shmuel Elimelech Braun, the murdered baby’s parents. But, he acknowledged, “This is a very hard time for them.” The nightmare descended on the family late last Wednesday afternoon. The young family was returning from the Kosel — Chaya Zissel’s very first visit — and disembarked from the Jerusalem light rail at Ammunition Hill on their route home. Suddenly a sedan driven by an Arab terrorist deliberately veered off the busy street directly into the milling crowd at the station. Eight others were injured in the attack, but the car directly hit Chaya Zissel’s stroller, hurling the baby high into the air. Although medical teams worked feverishly to save her, her brain injuries were too severe and she quickly succumbed. Another victim of the attack, Ecuador-born Karen Yemima Mosquera, who moved to the Holy Land in order to become a giyores, succumbed to her wounds on Sunday. “We believe that from the whole wide world, from everyone in Eretz Yisrael, from everyone in Yerushalayim, Chaya Zissel was chosen to be the korban tzibbur,” Rabbi Halperin said. “Hashem natan [gave], v’Hashem lakach [took]. HaKadosh Baruch Hu is trying to wake us up. When you sacrifice a korban, you take the cheilev [fat], the best part of the beheimah [animal]. That’s what Hashem took — He took her tachas Kisei Hakavod [under His Throne], from the Kosel, a pure neshamah who never did anything bad to anybody.” Rabbi Halperin’s visage was grim but resolute as he gave his statement, faltering only when mentioning his granddaughter’s name. “My daughter called her Chaya Zees — zees is sweet, and easy. She would hold her and say ‘Chaya Zees! Zees! Zeeskeit!’ That’s the way she was, she was so zees.”

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