All of us are numb.
We are speechless.
We are at a loss to comprehend the event of the last 18 hours.
We are scared and we are terrorized.
The headline screams the unbelievable:
“AT LEAST 59 DEAD AND 527 HURT IN LAS VEGAS
AFTER GUNMAN RAINS BULLETS ON CONCERT”
What would cause a man who had no known previous criminal record; had no known ties to any political or terrorist organization and was a seemingly ‘regular’ person, decide to calmly and methodically murder dozens of innocent human beings and wound hundreds?
There is no explanation.
There are no words to put into perspective the actions of this man; indeed, as the newspaper said: “A motive for the horrific attack remained unclear. “I can’t get into the mind of a psychopath at this point,” Sheriff Lombardo said.”
And therefore, if we cannot even begin to fathom the motives and motivating factors involved in this man’s evil actions, we must look not to the killer and his evil; rather, we must turn to the victims and how they responded to the evil.
There are many descriptions of heroic rescues which bystanders and first responders carried out and they are indeed the true heroes of the tragic event.
Yet, there was a description of an incident which occurred during the horrific barrage of bullets which touched me deeply.
It was a description of a mother and daughter and what happened as they realized they were being attacked:
“Tenaja Floyd of Boise, Idaho, said many of the people around her in the concert crowd thought at first that the sounds came from fireworks, but “I knew immediately, that wasn’t fireworks.” She said her mother, Jennifer, threw her to the ground and lay on top of her to protect her.”
Friends, can you imagine the greatness of this woman “Jennifer”- the mother of Tenaja Floyd?
As mother and daughter realized that their lives are in danger and they may have literally seconds to live, the mother performs what could have been one final act of kindness, concern and love: she throws her daughter to the ground and lays on top of her to use her own body as a human shield against the bullets raining down on them!
This mother Jennifer is teaching us a lesson in parenting.
It’s not found in Dr. Spock’s “Baby and Child Care”; it’s embedded by Hashem in the heart and soul of every normal mother and father who ever walked the face of the Earth.
A mother throws her child to the ground and lays on top of her to protect even while putting her own life in mortal danger; that’s just what a mother does!
On Wednesday night we are going to enter the Succah.
The Succah has no real roof and is totally exposed to the elements which lurk above us.
Nevertheless, we go in with a sense of Simcha and security.
Why? Aren’t there all types of danger to which we are exposing ourselves?
Maybe; and indeed, as the last 18 hours have proven again, our lives are precarious to say the least and indeed, sometimes tragedy strikes and as we mentioned, we cannot understand why.
And although we all must be cautionary and careful, life must go on and people must function normally.
We may not understand why tragedy occurs and we cannot prevent every horrific event; however, one fact the Succah teaches us is we are not alone; Hashem is with us and if needed and as He shown so many times in our history, He is prepared to throw us to the ground and lay on top of us to protect us and prevent us from being destroyed.
There is tragedy and there is evil; however, there is also the knowledge and consolation that our parent in heaven is there for us and although we sometimes get ‘hit’, He will always be there for us and if need be envelope us in His love in order to insure our communal survival.
May Hashem console all those families who lost loved ones in the horrific attack and may He heal all those who were wounded and may He put an end to all evil in the world speedily and in our days.