September 1, 2019 8:02 am
The Talmud in Chullin 7b says that” One doesn’t knock a finger below unless it is announced beforehand above.”
For the rabbi of the Chabad of Poway congregation, who lost his index finger when a gunman entered his shul and opened fire, killing one of the congregants, this talmudic dictum came dramatically true.
Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein lost the finger as he tried to shield children from the shooter who had entered the shul near San Diego, California, in April this year.
However, this week he successfully completed surgery to restore the finger and function in his hand, under the care of certified prosthetist Sam Heifetz.
“It was an honor to meet Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of Chabad in Poway and help him restore his hand and function,” Dr. Heifetz said, adding that “his lost finger during the horrific attack in his synagogue is a physical reminder of hate but his counterattack of inner strength, trust in God and bringing good to the world sheds light over and over”.
The shul was full on the day of the shooting, the last day of Pesach. One congregant, Lori Gilbert-Kaye, was killed and three others injured, including an 8-year-old girl whose family had move to California to escape rocket attacks in Sderot, Israel.
Rabbi Goldstein described the events on that fateful day:
“I thought Mrs Lori fell or a table fell. I turned around and I was face-to-face with the murderer-terrorist, who was holding a weapon and looking straight at me.”
Since the attack, Rabbi Goldstein has spoken about antisemitism, including at the White House alongside Donald Trump.
In an address to the UN General Assembly, Rabbi Goldstein said that “anti-Semitism is not a Jewish problem – this is a problem for the world and we need to recognize that.”