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When Avraham David Moses, a yeshivah student at Merkaz HaRav, was murdered by a terrorist, the entire Jewish people mourned the loss of this precious soul. But while life returned to normal for the rest of us, his father, Naftali Moses, struggled to find a way to memorialize this youngster who was both a budding talmid chacham and a typical teenager. Then Naftali discovered a way to break through the wall of grief-filled silence by using an ancient “tool” of the Jewish people: song.
“Go to Beer Sheva, and let your wellsprings bring blessing to the desert,” said the Baba Sali to his holy grandson decades ago. Jews are still reeling from the shock of Rav Elazar Abuchatzeira’s tragic death; did this holy man see his own future, woven into the destiny of the Jews in Eretz Yisrael?
More and more couples today are witnessing their own churban — the dissolution of their own mini Beis HaMikdash. But second chances are the blessing of life, and whether widowed or divorced, it’s always possible to rebuild. What happens in the interim, in that preparation phase between the first and second bayis? And how can the newly single fortify themselves for Part Two?
It’s Tisha B’Av afternoon and I’m walking through Harlem on my personal journey of mourning. I’ll traverse an entire region of abandoned shuls, silent testimonies to our exile — where even the most stable of structures are but fleeting memories.