Eliezer Shemtov
Trying to make a difference


A Message From Rabbi Goldstein of Chabad of Poway

Words of wisdom, pain and healing from Rabbi Goldstein, the rabbi of Chabad of Poway.Learn more about what happened and how to get involved: chabad.org/lxsk5q

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Chabad.org‎‏ ב- יום ראשון, 28 באפריל 2019

That was my reaction when I heard about the tragedy in Poway as soon as Pesach was over.

Once again: pain, tears, disbelief, anger, condemnations, messages of sympathy, messages of solidarity.

Pundits of all stripes and colors will again explain why it happened, whose fault it is and what needs to be done in order to prevent it from happening again.


My instinctive response in the face of tragedy is silence. At least for a while. That’s what the Bible tells us Aaron did when his two children were taken from him the day the Tabernacle was inaugurated. Silence. That’s what the Lubavitcher Rebbe did in 1956 when he was notified of the terrorist attack that took place in Kfar Chabad that snuffed out the lives of five students and their teacher. Silence.

It was only after a few days that the Rebbe sent a message of consolation and support to the devastated community of Kfar Chabad: “You will be consoled through continuing to build and expand.”

Pain is inevitable; suffering is a choice.

Once you have taken the time to absorb the shock of your pain, it’s time to stop suffering and respond. The healthiest response is to use the pain as a catalyst to become even stronger.

This is true on a personal level and community level as well as on the national level.

So now that my personal period of silence is over, this is what I have to say: If you are reading these words and are looking for answers, just DO something – anything – to generate light that will help fill the black hole that was just thrust in our path.

I don’t have the answer to “Why?” This is my best answer to “?!?!?!”

In honor of Lori Kaye הי״ד, Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein and the other heroes at Chabad of Poway.


About the Author
Rabbi Eliezer Shemtov, born in in Brooklyn, NY in 1961. Received Smicha From Tomchei Temimim in 1984 and shortly after was sent by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, may his merit shield us, together with his wife Rachel to establish the first Beit Chabad in Montevideo, Uruguay and direct Chabad activities in that country. He has authored many articles on Judaism that have been published internationally. Since publishing his popular book on intermarriage, "Dear Rabbi, Why Can't I Marry Her?" he has authored several books in Spanish, English and Hebrew dealing with the challenges that the contemporary Jew has to deal with.
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