How Do We Stop This?!

The inverse of “He who saves a Person, saves the World” is that our world was destroyed 17 times over this past Wednesday with the loss of 17 innocent souls … including 5 Jewish teens who were members of their local C-Teen chapter, Chabad’s International Teen group …

How have we failed so miserably that we allow the world to be destroyed – over and over, time and bloody time again?!

Thoughts? Prayers? Acts of loving kindness? Is that going to do it? The same old? No! At least not if we continue doing those things the way we have until now. Because the thoughts, prayers and good deeds until now have obviously not redeemed us from the living hell that reared its ugly head again this week in Parkland.

We need something different. Drastically different. Now.

We need to meet evil on its own terms.

Irrational evil will not be vanquished with “peace and love”. Destructive, irrational, evil behavior will only be vanquished when it is countered by an equal measure of irrational behavior in the realm of good. The tortured soul of Nicholas Cruz threw everything away and gave it all up just for some twisted, illogical perversion. What are we willing to give up for the sake of a noble cause? What are we willing to sacrifice in our own personal, daily lives in order to help others – even if logic dictates that we have our own hands full and should just worry about taking care of ourselves?

In her weekly message to us, the Torah tells us today how to build a Tabernacle, a literal sanctuary – a venue on Earth! – wherein the presence of G-d can be felt. “And you shall build it out of  cedar-wood (in Hebrew –  sheetim)”. The Hebrew word for the material with which G-d asks us to build His home – sheetim – has the same etymological root as another Hebrew word:  shtus … which means irrational”.

You want to know how to respond to this week’s Massacre? Think of a noble cause to which you’ve always wanted to dedicate yourself to – whether it is a Mitzvah between you and G-d, or between you and your fellowman – and commit  today  to actually doing something for that cause. Then, push the logical envelope of your commitment and commit to doing something even more than what you’ve always wanted to do. Even if it seems hard to accomplish.  Irrationally  hard.

Irrational hatred and evil, will only be vanquished with irrational goodness and kindness.

About the Author
Rabbi Yossi Deren was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1973, lived in Western Massachusetts through the '80s and today serves as the Spiritual Leader and Executive Director of Chabad Lubavitch of Greenwich, Connecticut. Together with his wife Maryashie, they founded the synagogue-center in 1996 as Emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory.