A Yizkor to be Remembered

Clearly a luminary of a spiritual leader on the local level, Chabad of Poway’s Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein was forced into the global spotlight this week and has quickly become an icon of international inspiration.

He described coming face to face with sheer evil, the killer who shot dead his dear friend and founding member. “He was wearing sunglasses I couldn’t see his soul.”

Jason Earnst is one of legions of cowards alike him lurking in the darkest corners of the internet. Their sites spew evil and are platforms for hate and destruction. They have proven to be extremely dangerous.

How do we allow such evil to proliferate in this glorious country? What can we do to stop it?

Rabbi Goldstein searched for a soul but could not find one. “The soul of man is the candle of G-d.” A soul is G-dly. America’s founding fathers, believers in an A-lmighty Creator, established as the foundation of this nation, the soul. It alone is deserving of the inalienable rights and freedoms endowed to man by G-d.

The Jews in Poway California had gathered to say Yizkor, to remember the souls of their beloved. It was the last day of the holiday when G-d commands; “Seven days you shall eat Matzah.”

The Kabbalists, masters of the inner “secrets” of Torah, highlight the Talmudic missive; “a child is not able to call out “father” until fed wheat.” This is a Divine “code,” they taught, that is embedded in Matzah. 3331 years ago, G-d chose a new people. As our Father, He cared for our every need. While doing so, He also ensured that we ate Matzah. Then, and ever since, this Divine wheat fortifies our child-father relationship with Him.

As we pick through this attack’s exploded pieces, one of the themes that emerge is: Passover Souls vs. Evil Soullessness.

Many have pondered the logic behind Anti-Semitism. The Jewish people contribute more to society, per capita, than any other nation. Every country that hosts the Jews, benefits tremendously. Yet, each generation continues its plans to execute “a final solution,” the extermination of our people.

Despite them, the Jewish people continue to shine as a collective affirmation of light and life. We represent the soul that is inextinguishable. Evil cannot tolerate this. As the Haggadah reads; “Each generation they try to annihilate us, but G-d saves us from their hands.”

Four weeks of planning went into what could have been this 19-year-old honors student unfathomable deadly massacre of children, men and women – in that order. It was only G-d’s open and miraculous intervention, the sudden jamming of his gun, that prevented it.

In 1981, days after the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson spoke on cable TV from his headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. The Rebbe asked, how could this great country have produced such senseless evil?

This, he said, is an inevitable consequence of an educational system whose sole objective is the accumulation of knowledge. Gone missing are the fundamental values and morals established by the country’s founding fathers. Instead of freedom of religion, “progress” has dictated and demanded, freedom from religion. The bold words printed on our currency, “In G-d we trust,” are forbidden in our nation’s classrooms.

Yizkor is to remember. Rabbi Goldstein with new permanent scars bandaged on his hands, defiantly waved them in the air and cried out, “we must bring the soul back into our blessed American way of life.” In G-d We Trust, is the vocabulary of our soul.

The bullet that killed one, innocent, pure Jew was meant for each of us, Jew and non-Jew alike. She was a holy sacrifice for every human being with a soul.

Subsequent to The Rebbe’s 1981 address, a campaign to bring a “moment of silence” into every American classroom was launched. A sacred “moment of silence” that connects the child to a greater good, G-d, each and every day. This would be a seed planted in the fertile soil of a child’s mind and imagination. One which will grow roots and bear fruits for life and all of civilization.

Chabad’s custom is to not, formally, end Passover. Indeed, this year it may have just begun. The selfless dedication, heroism and iron-clad faith of Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein has displayed to an entire world the soul of G-d’s Matzah. But that is not enough, he cries out. America’s founding fathers envisioned that soul to be their country’s own.

Rabbi Goldstein’s extra-ordinary spirit this past week can be matched in a moment. A “Moment of Silence” by each child, each day, in each classroom in the United States of America.

G-d chose one sacrifice, she will be forever remembered as holy and irreplaceable. The killer had 50 more bullets to shoot and his closest, wide-open targets were the little children. G-d miraculously spared them and us. The message for Rabbi Goldstein was clear. And his heart-wrenching cries must be heeded. We must do all within our power to restore this glorious country’s soul back into its rightful place; the hearts, minds and lives of each of its children and citizens.

G-d deserves it, our nation deserves it, the entire world deserves it, and not a moment too soon.

About the Author
Ciment is Founding Rabbi of Chabad-Lubavitch of Greater Boynton Beis Menachem, a pioneering traditional Jewish presence in Central Palm Beach County, Florida established in 1994. Chabad's 5 acre, "Rae & Joseph Gann Campus for Living Judaism" serves hundreds of member families and services thousands of Jews from all walks of life.
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