Jerusalem during Sukkot is by far the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. The arba minim shuks, the packed Kotel, the thousands of little sukkot lining every street and every porch…
Everyone is excited, you can feel it in the very air. After the first day in the sukkah, and the wonderful Simchat Beit hashuavas we all attended, we are on a high. Nothing can stop our jubilation.
But then the celebrations pause. News of a couple murdered, in cold blood, shot to death in front of their poor children. we cry. We beg Gd to save us, spare us, to bring the Messiah.
However, being the nation we are, with a long brutal history of pain, we pick ourselves up. We help our brothers and sisters up and we move forward. We replace our tears with triumph. We take on mitzvot, we pray. We know Gd is with us.
This does not mean we have forgotten. It only means we know there is good coming, and coming soon.
Celebrations continue. Shabbat Chol Hamoed comes. We sing and pray! We rejoice in the One Above’s company. Families prepare for Hoshana Rabba, a special day before Simchat Torah, the celebration of our Torah!
And then the celebrations pause. Terrible news of a man murdered, his wife in critical condition and their toddler left in trauma with a bullet wound to his leg. Another man, who came to their aid, has been murdered as well. We cry out to Gd, how could this happen? Please spare us! We cannot endure any longer! We cry. We learn Torah. We console each other.
And eventually, we pick ourselves up, very very slowly.
Only to fall down again, so helpless and crushed.
News, once again, terrible news. Another attack just mere hours later, a young teen was stabbed. Baruch Hashem, he is alive.
But we as a nation are so broken. Too many attacks, too many lost. We are on the eve of one of our happiest days of the year, Simchat Torah, and we cannot seem to find the strength to celebrate.
Four holy neshamot will not be dancing with their families this Simchat Torah. Their families probably don’t feel any simcha at all. Only emptiness, hopelessness.
Am Yisrael, know that this pain will pass. Today, on Hoshana Rabba, we will pick ourselves up. We will help our friends and family up as well.
Why? Because we are am Yisrael, we live. We thrive.
We will find comfort in our Torah, in our Gd and in eachother. We will jump up this chag, in the time of rejoicing and we will rejoice!
Tonight, when it comes time to dance our hearts out, we will dance for our brothers and sisters who are now up in heaven. We will dance because we know that they are dancing too, reunited with Gd, in His Beit knesset this holiday.
Chag Sameach. Stay strong mishpachti.