All Jews are responsible for one another wherever they may be. Our hearts are shattered by the horrific attack on our brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh this past Shabbat. We mourn the 11 holy souls who were so cruelly torn from our midst, and pray to G-d to provide strength and comfort to their shocked and grieving families. Their unfathomable pain is shared by the entire Jewish people and all people worldwide.
We further pray for the complete and speedy healing of the injured, of the survivors and of the entire Pittsburgh community.
No words can possibly describe this pure evil. Jews who gathered to pray and celebrate Shabbat were killed for no reason other than the fact that they were Jewish. Again: While praying! On Shabbat! The killer’s bullets we’re aimed at us all. “All Jews must die,” he yelled while opening fire.
What is the remedy to such senseless hatred?! What can we possibly do to eradicate it?
The answer is boundless love.
Cold-blooded, fanatical, baseless, relentless hatred can be uprooted from its core only by saturating our world with pure, undiscriminating, unyielding love and acts of kindness. Today more than ever, we need to spread love and unity, positivity, light and solidarity.
This past week was also the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach who personified the act of love and kindness in the world.
As I stood last week at Rav Carlebach’s grave site in Jerusalem’s Har Hamenuchot, together with hundreds of other Jews and followers of Rav Shlomo, I felt like there was only love and peace in the world. We all stood there and sang psalms in his memory using his beloved melodies that are sung till today worldwide.
What was Rav Shlomo’s secret weapon? What made him and his melodies so special that they can be heard in every corner of the world? What was so moving about Rav Shlomo that made you feel protected from all evil when you were by his side?
Rabbi Carlebach was the symbol of love and positivity for all of mankind. He didn’t differentiate between man and woman, or any of the races. Every soul on earth was special and unique. He spread love with every breath he took. He told stories of love and sang songs that could lift up every spirit in the world. His focus was always on how to see G-d ‘s world and all it entails in a positive light.
Rav Shlomo saw all of the people in the world as good. He felt that seeing only good in others would bring peace and love to the world. We live in a world that has good and bad love and hatred war and peace. To change the world is not our job. Yet to spread love and acceptance onto ourselves and to others is possible. We pray to live in times of only good, yet we have not gotten to that point in time. However, in the time of the full redemption, only good will be one of the goals that will be achieved. Acts of hatred toward Jews are a true reminder to us that we are all one family, we are all brothers and sisters. If one of us is hurting, we are all hurting and affected. Our response is to unite and come closer to one another, and to Hashem, through love and understanding.
We must continue to walk to our synagogues proudly. And, even as we grieve and mourn, we must increase exponentially our acts of goodness and kindness. Some of the injured were law enforcement heroes who willingly chose to put their own lives in danger to help others. We stand in awe of their courage and dedication. Unfortunately, here in Israel, we experience these horrible acts of violence and hatred too often. We are being killed just for the fact that we are Jews.
The Jewish nation is everlasting and is the cornerstone of the world. We are the chosen nation from Hashem and He will continue to guide and protect us even when it seems to our naked eye that he isn’t watching. Hashem is and always will be with us. Not always can we understand the ways of the almighty. Yet as believing Jews we know that Hashem is only good and will never leave us. May we join together with love and faith with all our fellow Jews worldwide – especially with those in Pittsburgh – and pray that the time of the full redemption will come and we will all live in harmony, in love and in true faith in one another and in G-d.