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Pain Fused with Faith

Eliezer Shulman and Yair Stern

With the tragic murder of his grandson Shalom Aharon Baadani Hy”d, Rav Shimon Baadani was thrust into the public eye. The Torah scholar and venerated chacham, whom tens of thousands of Jews view as their leader, supported his family and his nation with his unswerving acceptance of yet another crushing loss.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Friday, 14 Cheshvan. Shabbos is quickly approaching, but thousands of Jews have stopped their preparations to attend the funeral of Shalom Aharon Baadani, a 17-year-old yeshivah bochur who was mowed down by a terrorist a day and a half before. A wave of grief ripples through the crowd as his grandfather begins to speak. “This is the fourth grandson whose funeral I’m attending,” the venerated sage says, nodding at the tallis-draped figure of his slain grandson. “But Ribbono shel Olam, it’s all good. We have no questions. It hurts, it’s painful, but it’s also good. 
We simply cannot see the whole picture.” Rav Shimon Baadani, leader of thousands of Jews, universally respected by bnei Torah as a key player in the restoration of the Sephardic Torah community, has found himself at the heart of a national tragedy. On Wednesday afternoon, November 5, a terrorist rammed a van into the crowd waiting at Jerusalem’s Shimon Hatzaddik light rail station. Rav Baadani’s grandson Shalom was mortally wounded. 
He hung onto life by a fragile thread for the next day. On Friday morning, just a few precious hours before the arrival of the Day of Rest, he was laid to eternal rest. His family, his eminent grandfather, and an entire nation were left to grapple with the loss   

Pain and Faith Shabbos has passed and the Baadani family is grouped together in the shivah home, reliving the precious moments spent with their son and trying to absorb the finality of his passing. Their eyes are turned to Rav Shimon, the family patriarch, for direction. “What is there for me to add?” sighs Rav Baadani. “The Mishnah in Masechet Berachot says, ‘A person must say a blessing over evil just as he says a blessing over good… for the Torah says: With all your soul — even if He takes your soul.’ ” “How does a person live the Gemara?” I dare ask. Rav Baadani sighs. Closing his eyes, he says, “You tell yourself that everything Hashem does is for the best. This is a halachah in Shulchan Aruch. It says that a person is chayav — obligated — to do this. 
It’s not just a virtue, it’s an obligation.” Here, in this house of mourning, the pain and the faith coexist without any tension. “My grandson was so precious, such a talmid chacham, and now he is gone. But we thank Hashem for everything, even the things we do not understand.”

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