William Hamilton

Doing the Opposite

Losing sight of your child can turn a peaceful stretch along a stream into a formidable, frightful wilderness. Fear flips the switch. 

Well, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what can flip the switch in the opposite direction. What can turn a formidable, frightful wilderness into a calming stream? Of course, it’s impossible to flip quickly from panic to calm. But, as many who marveled at the moon’s covering of the sun relearned this week, our ability to pause and wonder is still closer than we think. It’s as available as watching a spider lower itself on a thread. 

The best way to restore hope is to tell stories that do so. Here’s one that moves me a lot. It’s called Adir’s Diamonds

Adir lost his life six months ago, protecting, and eventually saving his girlfriend at the Nova Festival. His father, a jeweler, decided to honor his son’s memory by gifting wedding rings to IDF soldiers who wanted to get married. Watch this short 89-second clip, having recently gifted his 81st ring, in which Adir’s father makes clear something so powerful: I’m doing the opposite. Hamas burned down Israeli homes. I’m trying to build them.

There’s a lot of talk out there about winning and losing wars. What does winning look like? Here’s what it looks like. Being free from vengeance. Free to establish new homes. Free to take your tears of sorrow and rotate them towards tears of joy. 

This week’s portion of Torah is called Tazria, from the Hebrew word meaning to seed and fertilize new life. May stories like Adir’s Diamonds calmly inspire you to seed hope in the week ahead. “Those who sow in tears, shall reap in joy” (Ps. 126:5).

About the Author
Rabbi William Hamilton has served as rabbi (mara d'atra) of Kehillath Israel in Brookline, MA since 1995.
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