Here we are again. Last we spoke, it was right after the Pittsburgh Massacre. There you told me, how you weep with me, and how if I could understand Your ways (which I cannot since I am not GD), I’d be less pained.
Yet you cried with me, at pain the Jewish family was enduring. The loss of life, the carnage, the insecurity that Your children were experiencing. You seemed to walk this fine line between being the Adult in the room, who knows what He is doing, and the empathetic parent who cries with their child who is going through the pains of growing up.
I walked away from our discussion, feeling that while my questions were not answered, I knew you were on top of things, and there was order, where it seemed like chaos to us. I walked away somewhat comforted knowing that you hadn’t abandoned us, notwithstanding the facts on the ground, mixed with blood and tears.
Yet, now I am here again. Knocking on your door asking you why? Why would a sister Chabad Center in Poway, California, a home dedicated to love, and compassion, a home that is but a branch of nearly 4000 similar homes, be targeted by a hateful and vile individual. How could you allow it? Why there? Why anywhere? In the past month, there three major faiths in the world had their houses of worship attacked, and we just proceed on. Are you in charge or not?
We just finished Holocaust Memorial Day, where the images if the greatest mass destruction of our people in the History of the world dominated our news cycle, our social media feed, and all the pain, anger and mistrust has risen to the surface again.
Perhaps my greatest consternation is this pacifistic, soft response I am hearing from all those Chabad Rabbis. A little light pushes away a lot of darkness. Or the “we fight evil with goodness and kindness” and a plethora of other Chamberlain-ian responses? I get that they mean well, but wouldn’t they be better off learning from history and getting gun licenses and other aggressive proactive efforts?
Sorry for taking your precious time,Gd, but I really need your help understanding all of this.
Oh my son, you are so wise and you ask such difficult questions, but I won’t shy away from your tough questions. If I am truly the father that you see me to be, I will guide and instruct, and hug and cry with you, in every scenario I will do what I deem to be the right response for that time.
Today, I will hug you for your fear. I will cry with you for the loss of dear Lori and the Rabbi and those injured in Poway. I will remind you to be responsible and protect yourself and your Chabad Centers as the responsible people that you are.
However, I want to answer your last question. I want to remind you, that your Rebbe, my trusted servant answered this already, and I am only going to remind you what he already communicated.
There was a time in history, that the modus operandi was that you fight evil with evil, and only once evil is vanquished can you start to focus on the good.
The classic chassidic analogy had been when dealing with sin. “You don’t bring furniture into the house, while the house is still dirty.” Or as it relates to this discussion, you can’t work on spreading love and light until you have crushed the enemy of love and light.
We live in a different time. We live in a pre-messianic era where the rules of the game have changed. Not simply because I willed it so, but because after generations of constant beating at the evil, the evil HAS been softened. We build on that, or sustain our accomplishments and even further our work by doing those acts of goodness and light. That is the radiation that doesn’t allow the cancer to come back.
(Even if today it doesn’t appear so. Today you are hurting, but next week, when you have had a chance to process a bit and see the world through different lenses, you will see that there is an immense amount of goodness out there. There is care for the wounded, programs for those with physical and emotional challenges. There are nations who are dedicated to not only promoting peace and democracy in their own borders but around the world. The world IS a better place.)
So, all those Chabad Soldiers, my Shluchim, from Peabody, to Poway, from Kathmandu to Crown Heights, they are correct. You no longer need to wait until you have banished evil to promote light. Do a good deed, and it further melts a softening evil world. Light a Shabbat Candle and the darkness that gets banished is not just the physical darkness in that room, but the darkness in our souls and the souls of those who have true deep seated darkness.
That greatest mistake would be to allow your questions, to stop you from being the beacon of light I created you to be. You have a job, you have a responsibility, to be brave, even while scared, to convey this message to the world. Your Rebbe did it since 1951. He is counting on you to keep on doing it.
It’s not a slogan, it’s not a cliche, it is a fact. Random acts of kindness, little acts of light, do indeed combat evil and darkness.
Farewell my son, I hope not to see your tear streaked face knocking at my door ever again. Let’s meet at our other happy and uplifting gatherings.
In fact, lets meet at Shul this Friday night or Shabbat?
Blog 30 of 52