Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rabbi Aharon Leib Steinman, two leading rabbis in the Lithuanian movement, and very prominent in Orthodox Judaism, published a joint letter on Monday "because of the situation," though they usually don't make any public statements.
"The people of Israel are in great trouble and we have no choice but to trust our father in heaven, and we need to examine our deeds. The heavens work in a mysterious ways," wrote the two rabbis. "But certainly everyone should examine their deeds."
"It is possible that it precedes the coming of the Messiah," they wrote and believe that sages of blessed memory interpreted that "how one can be saved from the pre-Messianic pangs, by learning the Torah and engage in charity."
The Rabbis also specify what commandments should be emphasized: avoiding conflicts.
"One should do anything so at least he didn't fail doing the opposite of charity, meaning causing harm to his friends or the public."
The rabbis said that even in times when the Jewish people had foreign elements in their midst there was no conflict among the people. "We used to face the war and win, while it is not the case at times of conflict, may the All-merciful protect us, and we need to try our best to have peace between the people."
Keeping Shabbat is also a major point in the letter. "It is well-known that God almighty likes the Shabbat keeping, and the opposite is hated."
The rabbis also ask not contribute to desecration of Shabbat in cases that are not life-threatening and one should not sponsor places that desecrate the Shabbat. "This is one the things that should be accepted – do not despise the Shabbat," they rabbis ruled.
Matter of modesty
The rabbis also touched on the subject of modesty "that needs correcting, since when there is no modesty, God will ignore our requests."
Concluding the letter, the rabbis explain that they do not know what the reasons for the troubles are, "But clearly anything we strengthen could be useful for God to let up his wrath."
During last Saturday's sermon at a Jerusalem synagogue Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, leader of the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic movement, also urged the public to pray and recite verses from the book of Psalms, "as if it were judgment day." At the end of his sermon Rabbi Yosef blessed the IDF soldiers and recited a special prayer for the safe return of the abducted soldiers.
'Our enemy's wish is to mirror Satan'
On Sunday the two chief Rabbis, Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Rabbi Yona Metzger, toured the north. They attended a special prayer at the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron Mountain, along with other rabbis and yeshiva students from the area.
Both Rabbis also attended the funeral of Yehudit Itzkovich and her grandson, seven-year-old Omer Pesacov who were killed during a rocket attack on the community of Meron.
Rabbi Metzger asked the deceased Yehudit Itzkovich during his eulogy, as a neighbor of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, to "plead for mercy and ask the God almighty to have mercy on us and provide the IDF forces with strength to defeat the enemies who came to hurt us."