In this week’s reading, Pinchas was rewarded for taking action on behalf of Israel. One of the Princes of the Jewish People had “disturbed the peace” between Israel and G-d, and Pinchas restored that peace.

This week, our peace was again shattered, this time by a psychotic individual, with the brutal murder of Leiby Kletzky z”l, a pure and innocent child. No one can fail to be horrified by this story — it remains national news even in a country in which murder has become commonplace.

But while we are appalled by what has happened, Leiby has increased our peace and brotherhood. Thousands turned out on the streets of New York to search for him, volunteering their time and energy to work together with others for a positive outcome. Tens of thousands, at least, united in prayer. This, too, was part of the national news, and was a Sanctification of His Name amid the tragedy.

It is sad that Jews with differing outlooks seem to come together uniquely in times of sorrow. In the merit of Yehudah ben Nachman z”l, we should learn from all those who volunteered together. While the positive outcome for which we all hoped was not the Divine decree, it is true nonetheless that bringing thousands of people together to work towards the good is a positive outcome in itself.

For those who are able, someone has taken upon himself the task of arranging the study of Mishnah in the memory of Yehudah ben Nachman z”l. This is another way to unite in the wake of tragedy, and of course Torah study increases peace in the world. To sign up, please go to and scroll down; there are 9 listings so far for completion of the Mishnah study by 12 Av, 30 days after his parting.

Sadly there is another situation in which we can still help — the sister of Aharon Tabachnik a”h reached me this morning (via Facebook). This teenage boy passed away last month, and his mother has ordered his body to be cremated. Please go to to read more and to join the petition to change this decree.

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