Something about the cover-up, the intimidation and the lies – no matter what the facts actually are in the Gaza conflict – felt way too familiar. Had I experienced something similar that caused the same enraging level of frustration before? Yes, a few years ago, I realized – while trying to help deal with a predator in the Jewish community.
Everything we did backfired. No matter what the truth was, the predator was widely viewed as the victim and even lauded, while the actual victim became ostracized as the “bad guy.” Threats on our safety mounted. There seemed to be no way to directly and effectively eradicate the perpetrators’ exploitation of their victims’ innocence or the powerful and widespread corruption covering up for the predators’ atrocities.
It didn’t take long before discovering a different route to take, thank God. Through writing the Let’s Stay Safe picture book for our littlest Jewish children, our most vulnerable have been learning how to be protected. Thousands of precious lives continue to be saved from the predators amongst us. Shining light, I learned, can lead to dispelling a cruel and spreading darkness in a demonstrable way.
So I reminded myself last week that we also don’t have to view ourselves as tiny grasshoppers up against the giant of worldwide anti-semitism that will not listen to the truth. We can bolster our education efforts, and use each of our individual abilities to shine our light, and nothing can stop us from making the world brighter in this manner.
There is so much that we can do to help the Jewish people be the wondrous examples we were meant to be. Each moral act in business that one individual struggles to do has an effect on every one of us. Each kindness that stretches a person in a wonderful way uplifts all the singular parts of our People who are supposed to lead with justice. Each nugget of wisdom shone enriches every part of our collective entity from the moment it is shared – whether or not the media covers it.
When one of us does a mitzvah, every one of us is immediately affected because we are all spiritually connected with each other, as different parts of one body are. And the light shining in one place can affect the darkness in a totally distant part of the world – or in the next cubicle – since spiritual light isn’t confined by physical borders.
There was a time when I used to need to tell myself very often, “If the abusers succeed in making us miserable, they win.” One of my daughter-in-laws reminded me of my own line last week when the news was really starting to bring me down. Truth is, there is no reason for us to feel frustrated and helpless when faced with escalating evil. We win whenever we are aligned with our joyful purpose, reconnecting with our souls, and with the Creator of all of our souls.
For our short term safety, we need to try to destroy the vast networks of cover-ups, the dark tunnels devised by all those who want to kill us physically and spiritually. Again and again, though, we are pushed out of our complacency into fulfilling our greatest mission.
To fight darkness in the most enduring way, we shine the wisdom that emanates from our Torah’s everlasting light, utilizing each of our uniquely beautiful hues in the process of illumination. That is what spreads pure goodness both within us and far beyond, powerfully protecting us. It is what we can do now – and forever.