When tragedy strikes, we go through phases.
First is terror. It could have been me, my family, my city, my shul.
Next is recognition. I know that street, that name, that family. That man in the picture used to live in my hometown, I once knew a guy who went to Toras Moshe and his favorite Rebbe was murdered today. We mourn. We take it personally. We feel the pain in our hearts.
Then comes the sadness. That overwhelming feeling of despair. The tears come, or maybe they don’t. Maybe you can’t comprehend the horror that has befallen our nation. The pictures that you didn’t want to see but showed up on your newsfeed are stuck in your mind, every time you close your eyes. A siddur, covered in blood. How could this be happening?? What about their wives, their children?
And I can’t understand how this happened because they were doing a mitzvah and I always learned to take dollar bills before flying so nothing bad could happen to me.
Then the anger hits. It takes a headline, a Facebook comment, a politician. CNN said what?? Bibi’s a big talker, but let’s see some action. How can you be posting pictures of your children right now when our entire nation is mourning??
Many of us get stuck here. It’s the place we usually stop. The anger stays with us, growing at every biased headline, at every report of the celebrating Muslims, at every Facebook post.
But there is another step we can take, if we wish. It doesn’t need to end with anger, end with writing angry posts about what we would do if we were in control. It’s what the high school children in the Gush did- making a human chain, 2000 people strong, at the bus stop where Dahlia was killed last week. Showing life in the face of terror, standing together when we are being torn apart. We must stand up – not with anger, but with unity. We must ask ourselves – what can I do for the Jewish people today?
When tragedy strikes, there is a time to mourn, a time to be sad, a time to be fearful. There is a time for anger. But there is also a time for action, a time for proactivity, a time when we can band together.
עם ישראל חי – and so we must LIVE, as Am Yisrael. As one nation. Don’t stop at anger. Take the next step.
ה ינקם דמם.