Parsha Vaera

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Yoav Hattab, right, with a friend.

In researching what to write for the short Shabbos insights, we go to a few sites, including We had found something last night and were ready to give it over and then add our own few words. That was last night. This morning when we went back to we came across a letter that, once we started reading, could not stop, as painful as it was.

It is a letter penned by the father of Yoav Hattab of blessed memory, one of the four men murdered last week in the supermarket. Rabbi Binyamin Hattab is the chief rabbi of Tunisia. It is his son who was killed.

We’ll put the link to the entire letter at the end of this insight.

Remember Billy Joel’s song Only the Good Die Young? Tragically, we have been witness to this song in real time, over and over again. Yoav was an exceptional human being, even though he was still a very young man. There are such people in the world. From an early age they show a maturity that belies their age. They sincerely care for others. They grasp the beauty of the world around them. They understand what it really means to be a Jew.

Rabbi Hattab painted such a picture of the son he lost. But he went one step further, in a way that includes every Jew.

…“I’d like to ask specifically that all add in honoring the Shabbat queen, who was so dear to our son. Even if you do not yet feel ready to keep the entire Shabbat, try to keep it at least partially. Light the Shabbat candles, hold a Shabbat meal with your family, attend prayers at synagogue…”

We are involved in this year’s worldwide Shabbat project. It’s not until next October, but plans are already being formulated. Yoav got it as does his father. Shabbat, as does all of Judaism, belongs to every Jew. No exceptions.

Even if Shabbos is not part of your life yet, or it’s out of your comfort zone, just try one little bit.

Click here for the entire letter.

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