Rachel M. Roth

Being the light in this dark moment

“If everything around seems dark, look again, maybe you are the light,” — Rumi

We are experiencing an outpouring of love from the world. And it helps. It really helps. Not only because it helps alleviate the loneliness of grief, but because on a spiritual level, it pushes back against the darkness of the evil we have experienced.

While Hamas wants to wipe the Jews off the earth – we see the world send supplies and support for our survival. Hamas intends to create chaos and fear – but we have found new clarity and certainty as to what are the difficult grey areas and where are the hard lines which humanity must draw for itself. Hamas has committed the most unspeakable atrocities driven by hate – but friends of every kind reach out across the ocean to send love.

For most good people, hate is foreign. We cannot wrap our heads around it. We look for other explanations. I am sad to say that it exists, we have seen its face, not once, but many times and in many places across history. When we see candy thrown and celebration of babies being burned alive, young women being publicly gang-raped, innocent humans captured and tortured and begging for their lives, there IS something we can do. We can say clearly: This is evil. This is hate. This has no place in our world. Our words, the unity of the world on this boundary is like striking a match in the blackness, suddenly we can see again.

For all of you who feel powerless, know that you are not. You carry the light with you, and this is the antidote. Reach out to support your friends. Clearly speak the name of evil. Grieve with us, write, donate to causes to drive away the dark. Be present with your precious children. Fill your souls with what gives you joy. Connect with your community. Check on someone who is old, sick. Accept difference. Treasure life. I told my son that fear comes from seeing ourselves as physical beings. But in fact we are spiritual beings having a short physical experience. Our role is to bring light to this dark place.

I want to end this piece there, but there remains a deep fear among our small nation that I must name: the abandonment of the world and this light-giving support as we enter war against this evil. The Jewish people have seen from time immemorial that we can garner sympathy when being murdered, but not support for self-defense.

The philosopher Mill wrote, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse… A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; carried on for an honest purpose by free choice, is often the means of their regeneration… As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.”

In this case, we have no choice but to plunge into the grey and do battle with the darkness. As the nation picks up its weapons, please know that we would much rather be home watering our gardens, reading bedtime stories to our children, visiting our elderly friends for a cup of tea, building bridges to peace, adding light to the world.  But many of our family and friends remain trapped in the dark. We cannot leave them there. Please do not abandon us when we go into the dark to bring them out.

About the Author
Dr Roth is a US-trained family physician with specialties in mental and global health. She made aliyah ten years ago, and lives in the north with her husband and four young children. Dr Roth currently practices in mental health both in Israel and to the US via telemedicine.
Related Topics
Related Posts