Forty-five dear souls were lost in Israel, a dozen young boys, & over 100 people injured, on what is meant to be one of the most joyful days of the year, Lag B'Omer. There are no words of solace to ease the suffering of those who are in mourning. We can only join them in silence, murmur heartfelt prayers, and if asked, provide shoulders to cry on. Only later, we are left to grapple with the existential.
I have survived two divorces, the dissolution of my nuclear family, the fire of manic depression, and the death of my mother to ovarian cancer, yet nothing can compare to the loss of a child. There is no way to avoid suffering in this life and some will suffer more than others. It seems, the only way to be resilient is to find meaning in one’s inevitable trials.
The Jewish people are no stranger to suffering, neither are the nations of the world. Every human being is forged in the crucible. It seems, what is unique to the Jewish people is the longevity of our national suffering which began with the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. The Jewish people have survived for thousands of years. We have persevered throughout the exiles of Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome... through inquisitions, pogroms, & holocaust. Those who have wished to destory our message for the morality it represents have been lost to history. Yet we continue to embrace our Torah and Mitzvahs and fervently pray for our redemption.
We have survived as the eternal nation becasue the Torah is eternal. We have survived becasue the Torah's message is eternal. We have been tasked with the crucial objective to be a light unto the nations and teach the world that life has meaning. In darkness we may question our purpose and fall prey to the despair which comes from viewing our journey as futile. Only when we remember that there is a loving God watching over us... who empathetically feels our pain... who walks with us hand in hand through the chambers of darkness... who created the world with reason and integrity... will we stand resolute in our mission, no matter what the cost.
It is easy to lose hope when all that we hold dear is taken from us. Yet when we are bereft, we are left with the choice to embrace our Eternal God in the singularity of our loneliness. Ultimately, we are promised that the seemingly bad things that happen to us and the good people around us, will lead us back to the garden of splendor where we will rejoice together for eternity. Only then will we be able to peer beyond the veil and eulogize our tribulations.
Until then, we cry with you Israel and feel your pain. May Hashem comfort you in this life and the next, along with all the mourners of Zion.