Tzemach Yehudah Richter
Tzemach Yehudah Richter

Seeing Bibi At The Kay Family Shiva House – Introducing “The Shemitah Hotline”

בסייד

Arriving The Same Time As Bibi And His Security Guards

My wife and I were determined to visit the Shiva house where Eliyahu David Kay lived with his family. On Tuesday night, we arrived together with a South African couple who knew the Kay Family very well because the wife taught all the Kay children when they attended the Chabad School named The Torah Academy in Johannesburg.

We made it to the top of the stairs outside the first floor apartment and just as we were about to enter, suddenly an announcement was made that an important person was about to arrive and we must stay where we are. Within a minute I looked up and found myself staring into Bibi’s face as he was going up the stairs.

I always wanted to personally thank Bibi for making the bold decision to ban those two US Squad members from entering Israel because their trip was being sponsored by Hamas supporter Miftah. But it was not appropriate to do so at the time. One of those Squad members represent my hometown in Congress and stood up after she was first elected to denounce Israel as an Apartheid State. If that were true, Eliyahu David Kay would most probably still be alive today because Israel would have banned his killer from entering our country.

After waiting for nearly an hour Bibi left and we were free to go in and give our condolences to the family.

At Eli’s funeral, Chabad.org quoted Eli’s brother as follows-

One of Kay’s brothers, Kasriel Kay, told the gathering that he would not eulogize his brother, as fitting their Chabad-Lubavitch tradition. Instead, he urged the crowd of mourners to change their lives for the better in his brother’s memory.

“There’s no reason to be sad for him. … He will be at peace,” said Kasriel Kay. “Eli would have [chosen] no other way [to die], either this or in the middle of the war.”

“My great-grandfather Eliyahu is waiting for him [in heaven], King David is waiting for him, and they’ll take care of him,” he continued, invoking his brother’s namesakes. “Eli would have wanted every single person to give … to the best of their ability, in whatever way works for them, whatever they can for Israel.”

I Respect Eli Kay For His Bravery In Leaving Home And Giving His Life For Israel In Hashem’s Army

Eli’s brother Kasriel confirmed with the above statement how much Eli loved Israel and the sacrifice Eli was willing to make for his fellow Israelis. In fact, I can remember many times how the Chabad Rebbe would say that we are all members of G-d’s Army. So though Eli did not die fighting in the IDF, he gave his life standing proudly as a Jew on his way to daven as part of Hashem’s Army.

Now I Can Reveal The Main Point Of The Blog Which I Delayed Publishing Until Today

In Monday’s Blog titled – In Memoriam – Eliyahu David Kay – I mentioned I was working on another Blog. The main point of that Blog is this year in Israel is Shemitah. I discussed this with many people and came away with a firm impression that most did not think it necessary for people living outside of Israel to learn these Halachas because they had no obligation to do those Mitzvahs living overseas.

With Eli’ sudden murder, that assumption has been proven wrong because I met many of Eli’s relatives and friends at the Shiva house who flew in from overseas to attend his funeral. Some will be staying for the duration of the Shiva period and perhaps beyond. During that whole time they will now be faced with many questions related to Shemitah.

Before this Shemitah year began, I had a feeling that there would be some event or events that would make it necessary for people living overseas to begin learning the laws of Shemitah. I discussed this with my son Dovid Pinchas. His Rav, Rabbi Yitzhak Eliezer Gradnavich ZT”L was niftar 10 minutes before Rosh Hashanah which I wrote about on a November 11th Blog. Dovid was impressed with this idea and so were the Rabbis he teaches with at his Yeshiva – Chochma V Daat in Rechovot. In addition, the lawyers he gives a daily Daaf Yomi shiur to also voiced their support. And that was further confirmed when Rav Chaim Kanievsky announced that everyone should take time out from their busy schedule to learn two Shemitah Halachas everyday.

But where will Jews who recently arrived in Israel, such as the family of Eli Kay, get help to know the Shemitah laws?

Introducing “The Shemitah Hotline”

The timing of this Blog is all from Hashem because I assume many of Eli’s relatives from overseas will not have time to learn the Shemitah Halachas while everyone is sitting Shiva. “The Shemitah Hotline” is here to help not only Eli’s family, but everyone else to find answers to Shemitah questions. I will explain where to find contact details for this new Hotline shortly, but first I want to reveal the Rav who is making this Shemitah Hotline possible.

There is a Rav who has been teaching in Dovi’s Yeshiva since it was started by Rabbi Gradnavich 20 years ago named Rabbi Chaim Vidor. He is a well-respected Rav not only in the Yeshiva but in Bnei Brak where he lives and serves on a Beit Din as a Dayan. For the past few months Rav Vidor has been producing Shemitah Halachas which he emails to me in Hebrew. I print them out and send them to Dovi who translates them into English. Dovi has begun making a series of Videos, first in English and then follows with the Hebrew translation. To confirm how motivated Rav Vidor is, I often receive those emails between 2 to 4am.

The amazing thing is that one of the partners in the law firm has taken off time from his busy schedule to record Dovi’s English/Hebrew Shemitah shiur on video after the Daf Yomi shiur is given.

There is a bochur in Dovi’s Yeshiva who also records the Shemitah Halacha Shiurim at the Yeshiva after Dovi davens Shacharit and learns Mishna Bruah with the Bocherim.

My New Site Which Contains Contact Details For “The Shemitah Hotline” Is Named – “Your Aliyah Advisor”

Your Aliyah Advisor- http://youraliyahadvisor.com/- was originally created to generate interest about making Aliyah. Eli Kay’s murder should send a strong message home to all Jews living outside Israel that we must stand up together as one nation and not be divided. Jews make up a small portion of the world’s population but every person must stand up and be counted.

Eli’s brother Kasriel said it best at Eli’s funeral as I have written at the beginning of this Blog that “Eli would have wanted every single person to give … to the best of their ability, in whatever way works for them, whatever they can for Israel.”

I firmly believe that if we all work together to support Israel then Eli’s wish would have been fulfilled. That includes learning the laws of Shemitah which “Your Aliyah Advisor” will now concentrate on. Pay particular attention to the Video on the main page which shows our son Dovid Pinchas paying tribute to his teacher Rav Gradnavich. It is in his honor that Dovid wants to dedicate these Shemitah Videos. I have begun to put them up on the Site under the Videos heading appearing in the Menu on top of the Main Page.

To obtain contact details of “The Shemitah Hotline” go to the picture of the telephone in the middle of the Main Page. Pressing on it should then direct you to a separate page with all the information required for both English and Hebrew speakers.

Please remember that because “Your Aliyah Advisor” will now concentrate on primarily providing answers to Shemitah related questions and comments, and because we are a small team, it may take a while to respond to non-Shemitah queries.

It is our hope that “Your Aliyah Advisor” can help perpetuate the memory of Eliyahu David Kay.

Especially since our son Dovid Pinchas shares Eli’s middle name and attended the same Torah Academy School where the Kay family sent their children. May I point out that I wrote a Blog on May 5 of this year honoring the memory of Mrs. Selma Bacher who was pictured bidding farewell to Dovid Pinchas with all of his classmates 25 years ago before we made Aliyah. She was well respected and known to the Kay family and could even have taught Eli. That Blog can be viewed at the following link-

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/in-g-d-we-trust-in-selma-bacher-we-always-trusted-to-teach-our-children/

About the Author
Born and raised in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Married to a South African, we lived in Johannesburg from 1979 to 1996. Made Aliyah with our seven children on Parshat Lech Lecha. BSB Accounting Degree from the University of Minnesota. Investment Portfolio Manager /Fundamental And Technical Analyst. Wrote in-depth research on companies, markets, commodities for leading financial publications. Served in the US Army Reserves Semi Retired spending quality time with my wife, children, grandchildren and attend Kollel while analyzing current events as they relate to Torah and Mitzvahs.
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