Lag BaOmer 2021. A tragic night that sparked immense debate on politics, religion, ideological divide. A night that sparked hugely emotive responses from across the country, in the form of anger, blame, hatred, pain undisguised or otherwise. Grief, undisguised or otherwise… Breathe. Push all that to the side. In their honour, let’s go back. Let’s remember.
As shabbat came in, we lit 45 candles around the room. We sang with them, and each and every flame, every soul, truly felt so close to us. They were celebrating shabbat so beautifully one last time. But as I lit the candles I broke. I couldn’t help but think of the 45 women who were lighting alone this week for the first time. My only wish was to go to each and every home, light with them, hold them close…
But as I got to shul it was filled with so much light and song. I realised that I could learn a lesson from Miriam who sang the women out of Egypt. Out of everyone, she was the one who had the strength to sing and dance when everyone else just wanted to mourn and dwell. That strength that she showed, that ability to tap into true שמחה, to dance, to sing, to express, is so important right now. We have the ability to turn this seemingly overwhelming grief around, we can raise it from the lowest darkness to the greatest of spiritual heights. Yes we can mourn, but we can also smile. We can fly. We can spread the light and fire and beauty of Torah, we can share love, and goodness to every corner of the world. We can be the best of humanity.
We can light it up.
For our fallen brothers.
We can light it up.
I believe, I believe, I believe…
In a clip taken moments before disaster, it shows these were among the last words that were uttered for some of the victims. I believe. The time is not to point blame, to be critical. Now is the time to mourn. I believe. So far, we have lost 45 of our brothers and children. 45 worlds. 45 souls. 45 futures. We must do better. We must open our hearts to love without judgement, and without condition. We must open our souls to healing. We must feel the pain today as our people are 45 smaller, and we must raise it. I believe. I realise that no matter how much I beseech the world to improve, I can only look inwards. To be a source of light, a source of good, a source of spirituality. With conviction, without limit. So let’s not point fingers. Let’s feel, let’s love, let’s be better. United in mourning, united in strength. These precious neshamot left the earth from a place of celebration, singing and dancing. The most we can now do for them is to live that way. To sing, to dance, to connect. I believe.