Rabbi Yaakov Shapira visits Pollard, finds him 'full of thoughts'

InnStaff - Arutz7news - December 23, 2009

(Israelnationalnews.com) Rabbi Yaakov Shapira, Dean of Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, visited Jonathan Pollard in his jail cell Tuesday, together with Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel, Shlomo Zakheim, Mickey Wasserteil and others. [J4JP correction: The visit took place in the prison visit room, not in Jonathan's cell.]

Rabbi Shapira stayed in Pollard's cell for more than two hours, and found him up to date on the latest news and events in Israel.

The rabbi said later that he was "surprised and pleased" that after all the years of confinement, living in the company of murderers and suffering from innumerable deprivations, Pollard is "clearheaded and full of thoughts" on various subjects. Rabbi Shapira said he engaged in deep discussions with the famous prisoner, who is seen by many in Israel as one of the country's great heroes.

Pollard said he was worried about events in Israel, and that he felt extreme distress about the Disengagement in 2005 and the massacre of eight students at Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva in 2008. Regarding the Mercaz HaRav attack, Pollard said that he couldn't understand why Israel didn't react more strongly to that atrocity. He wanted to know how the families were bearing up and wished them well.

Pollard said that he prays for the recovery of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, Shlita.

The group sang together, choosing songs that were put to music by the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and that poignantly evoked the emotions of the moment: Lemaan Achai Vere'ay (For the Sake of My Brothers and Friends) and Esa Einay, both from Psalms; and Lashana Habaa BeYerushalayim (Next Year in Jerusalem).

Rabbi Shapira told confidantes that Jonathan Pollard has articles from Arutz Sheva in his cell.

Rabbi Shapira, who is a kohen, or Biblical priest, blessed Jonathan Pollard with the Priestly Blessing before leaving him. The blessing, which has been recited by Jewish priests for thousands of years, is:

  May the Lord bless you and keep you;   May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you;   May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Pollard has been in jail for 24 years after being convicted of passing classified information to an ally Israel an offense usually punished by two to four years in jail. [J4JP correction: 25 years in prison, not 24!]

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