Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gavriel Holtzberg Covered Wife With Prayer Shawl at Death

Gavriel Holtzberg managed to cover is wife Rivka with a tallit - a Jewish prayer shawl - moments before he was killed.

initial report brought water to my eyes:
The bodies of Chabad-Lubavitch emissary, Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg, and kashrus inspector Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum, were found in the Mumbai Chabad House library, with holy books in front of them. According to ZAKA emergency service, the body of the Rabbi's wife Rivka was found covered with a tallit, which her husband had managed to cover her with.

The bodies of the two other women who were killed along with Rivka Holtzberg were found tied with telephone cables. The women had apparently been bound before they were killed.
I recorded my thoughts on the deaths of the Holtzbergs earlier.

However, readers should not miss
Tim Rutten's comments, especially this part:

Mumbai was selected not simply because it was a so-called soft target but because it is a symbol of modernity in the world's most populous democracy ....

The places the killers struck - luxury hotels, a railway station, a hospital for women and children, the Chabad Jewish center - are all powerfully linked in the popular mind with the modern world ....

Like all the totalitarian movements that have come before it, hatred of liberty and Jews is the real foundation of contemporary jihadism, and not the traditions of Islam or its canonical prescriptions.

Finally, there's the particular tragedy incorporated in the murder of the young American rabbi, Gavriel Holtzberg, his Israeli wife, Rivka, and four others, including a rabbinical colleague. Because we are a people of both faith - peacefully expressed in many creeds - and the future, there is something in the American conscience that recoils with a special horror when violence is done to clergy and the young.

The brittle, fanatic minds that could countenance something like the Mumbai massacre are well armored against real-world complexities, like irony and paradox. If they were not, they might have realized that they could not have found a more confounding target for their hatred of Jews than one of the thousands of houses around the world operated by the Chabad Lubavitch movement for which Holtzberg and his wife served as emissaries. The facility they ran is really an observant Jewish version of the old-fashioned settlement houses, a place that simply was there to educate and to help.

Adherents of the jihadi ideology share a common presumption that the modern world in all its manifestations is the implacable enemy of a traditional religiosity. Modernism, in their minds, is built on concepts that pollute: reason, individual liberty, democracy, pluralism. Like all totalitarians, they demand submission to a single pure idea. Difference equals contamination; reason leads to sacrilege.

Check my tags below for my earlier essays, dear readers, and please say a prayer with me for our future.


Rich Casebolt said...

Philippe ... here's how.

Problem is, this won't happen until a lot of other nations stop thinking that the way to lift themselves up, is to see others dragged down to the least-common-denominator of international standing ...

... this won't happen as long as misguided souls label the proactive, resolute, and decisive interdiction of these thugs and those behind them, by rights-respecting nations, as "imperialist" ...

... and this won't happen unless the threshold for such decisive action is set far lower than 2,996 bodies killed on one nation's soil.

Problem is, those who hold the opposite viewpoints as those described above once again dominate the public discourse and national decision-making processes.

They didn't learn a damn thing from 911 ... so they are setting the stage for more repeats.

And worse.

If these thugs are not interdicted, and the nations that support them are not transformed into rights-respecting nations, in the near term, the butcher's bill will rise exponentially ... those who oppose the above viewpoints need to be careful what they ask for.

Robert Brendan said...

Thank you for taking the time to include a piece about these two brave and wonderful young people on your site. Whether we are slightly interested in international affairs, uninterested, or completely live in the world of political science, we are all affected when a tragedy of this magnitude occurs.

The slaughter of unarmed, innocent civilians is the most cowardly and impious act one can commit in their shirt time here on this earth. Only by living up to the codes of decency and humanity and meet these murderers head on will we be able to prevail in this ideological struggle.

Hailed be the heroes.

Anonymous said...

The only way to deal with this is to not consider this as one country's issue, there has to be an international body (like the UN)- a coalition of rational countries that is mandated by a statute to deter and strike at the root of all terrorism. The one guinding principle for the statute should be a code of conduct that provides with a process to deal with a "terror" event in any member country. If a country shows a tendency to allow terrorist elements to proliferate within their borders, this international body should be allowed to ratify a sanction not providing passage to the citizens of such a country until the country takes decisive measures to control and eradicate terrorist organizations and elements. People who knowingly tolerate such elements are abettors of such behavior and hence equally to blame.