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Vivian

Dear Vivian,

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I am truly sorry to read of your tribulations, compounded by the insensitivity of others. This being so atypical of the Jewish heart and soul [see Chronicles of Nov. 23 & Dec. 7, ’12], I can only surmise that by the time you came home from Israel, residents of the devastated areas and surrounding neighborhoods were either mired in their own anguish and grief at their losses or were overtaxed physically and emotionally by the sudden and massive recovery undertakings.

Among the remarkable resources and organized efforts on behalf of victims of the storm, Chabad seemed to take center stage. I trust you’ve been in contact with your local Chabad synagogue’s personnel who would have no doubt been able to offer you invaluable assistance in your time of need.

As for thoughtless remarks and reactions, there are times when even the well-meaning individual somehow manages to be tactless. Your friend who talked of divine “punishment” certainly did not mean to imply anything personal. No human being (at least not in our time) can pinpoint a cause for such a disaster, but we do know that a calamity of this magnitude moves us all to search our hearts and deeds and to cry out to Hashem for His mercy and benevolence.

Hopefully, your message will not be lost on the people who need to hear it most. May you experience a quick, thorough and smooth recovery.

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