We're so choked with tears and emotions that the keyboard is barely visible. The Jewish people have just suffered an inestimable loss - that of Baba Elazar from BeerSheva, may his pure and holy soul plead for all of us at the Heavenly Throne.
The south of Israel is known for its special tzadikim, one of the greatest and holiest was "Baba Elazar" - Rabbi Elazar AbuChatzera of saintly and blessed memory - who was stabbed to death after midnight by a deranged individual. All of us here at Breslev Israel, Emuna Outreach, and the Beams mourn the untimely disappearance of this tremendous tzaddik who never raised his eyes to look at the physical and material world. Continuing in the path of his holy father Baba Meir zatza'l from Ashdod and his holy grandfather and light unto our eyes the Baba Sali of Netivot, Baba Elazar is survived by his brothers - each a tzaddik in his own right: Rabbi David of Nahariya, Rabbi Yekutiel and Rabbi Raphael of Ashdod, and Rabbi Yehoshua Rahamim. Their one sister is married to Rabbi Chaim Pinto, the head Sefardi Rabbi of Ashdod.
Rabbi Raphael Abuchatzera once told me that there holy father made sure that all the brothers knew Zoher and Aramaic by age 8. He also told me that his brother Elazar was particularly special in his learning and in his personal holiness from the time he was a little boy.
Volumes are required to record the miracles that Baba Elazar performed. But greater than the miracles was his love for every single Jew, no matter what his or her background was.
People ask why. We certainly don't want to recall the misdeeds of our people; yet, the true tzaddikim of our generation have been fighting a bloody spiritual war to rescind or at least mitigate the severe judgments levelled at our people. Don't even ask what they are, because they're unthinkable. In the past month alone we've lost little Leiby Kletzky, Rav Michel Lefkowitz, the Sphinka Rebbe, and now Baba Elazar, all of saintly and blessed memory. Look how we're all paying the price:
Leiby Kletzky - sacrifice taken from American Jewry
Rav Lefkowitz - Lithuanian Jewry's sacrifice
Sphinka Rebbe - Chassidic Jewry's sacrifice
Baba Elazar - Sefardic Jewry's sacrifice
This must stop! Hashem is talking to us loud and clear, but few seem to understand the message. How many more holy sacrifices will we have to pay to prevent whatever catastrophes that the accusing forces are demanding? How much longer can we tolerate ugly hate and prejudice as well as the breach in personal modesty and holiness? When will we finally make teshuva from the heart and make ourselves worthy receptacles for the light of the Divine Presence? Don't forget - we're in the midst of the Three Weeks, and it's not even Rosh Chodesh Av yet. What will be? Who will wake up before it's too late?
Baba Elazar was the epitome of holiness. His untimely death was a mere hours after the gay-pride parade contaminated Jerusalem. For those with short memories, the kidnapping of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser together with the outbreak of the second Lebanon War and the unbelievable damage to the north of Israel also occured shortly after the 2006 gay pride parade in Jerusalem.
We cannot afford to lose any more tzaddikim.
First, we each must do our part to better our unconditional love for each other and at least start by removing hate and prejudice from our midst. For those who think we hate gays - you're wrong. We merely oppose public flaunts of Torah prohibitions, particularly in the Holy City of Jerusalem.
Second, each of us must accept upon ourselves - as a loving sanctification of Baba Elazar's holy memory - a commitment to strengthen our personal holiness and modesty in some way. Hashem regards the slightest improvement as a great sacrifice. In fact, our commitment to Ahavat Yisrael and to personal holiness will undoubtedly lead to the true consolation of our people, the coming of Moshiach, and the rebuilding of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem, amen.