Jews are like an egg. Most foods, when you cook them, become soft. Eggs get hard from cooking. In other words: It is no use to make our lives difficult. It will only make us stronger. It used to be that there was a sure way to kill us. By being nice to us. But you can fool some people all of the time, all people some of the time, but not all people all of the time. Appeasing us to death with nice words is now a passed station too.
So many haters of Jews have gone to their graves, convinced that soon all the Jews will be dead. No setback could make them give up. But why hate us, many Jews ask. The answer is that the haters have no power on their own. By choosing evil, they let G^d do His dirty work via them. (And, why is there evil in the world? If the world was already perfect, we could not work with G^d to perfect it, and so earn much reward. And when we do good deeds in pain and with effort, we earn 1000 times more reward.)
I say it with a soft voice because of the people hurting from yesterday morning’s terrorist attack, but it could have been so much worse. I don’t say this to say that we should not be shocked, in mourning, hurting, and protesting to G^d that we need better. I’m only saying that we’re not as divided as we used to be. Compare the hatred and divisions in post-Trump US. G^d disapproves of Jews infighting for no reason; and then sends Jew haters for no reason to take our sweetest and holiest to unite us again.
Israeli political bickering has been much worse than what we have now. We’re on the right path. We’re not each other’s enemies. We’re passionate but don’t hate each other really. Next to the work of the IDF, police, and security forces, the best next thing to protect us is to give undeserved love. Random acts of kindness. Doing someone a favor. Giving freely of oneself.
In Western culture, it’s almost ‘natural’ to assign blame or take revenge—on someone, anyone. Yet, it doesn’t help. Especially counterproductive is Jews blaming Jews for Jew-hatred. The best revenge is for us to live well.
Yesterday evening was the eve of the first day of the New Month of Kislev, the Month of Chanukah. There are monthly meetings at the gravesite of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, to usher in the new months with singing, dancing, and some drinks and food. Because of the terror attack, the Kumsitz was moved to the pedestrian path opposite the bus stop of the main attack.
Many guitars emerged. Charedim from the adjacent neighborhood joined in the singing or watched and hummed along. Down, at the opposite side of the main road to Tel Aviv, young people had gathered at the terror site. They were audibly angry. We lit candles, ate hot soup, and sang from the depths of our hearts. But, in the beginning, they were more lullabies than songs of protest. Perhaps it was hard to sing with full happiness after the callous murder of a yeshiva boy, someone of their age. But, I remembered the story of Moishele Gut Shabbos. He said to the chazan: Your prayers go down—they need to go up. I can’t do any better, the prayer leader said. So, Moisele took over… Louder, I urged, we’re up against a lot of anger.
A camera crew from NBC installed its sophisticated camera close to where we were sitting. I went to talk to them. NBC, that’s not as bad as the BBC, I volunteered. They laughed. Were they waiting for a violent confrontation between the demonstrators and the police? It didn’t happen. I invited them to shoot 10 seconds of our peaceful meeting, meant to bring down more peace, more unity, more love, more hope, and more tears instead of keeping them in. I said: try it. Maybe your editor-in-chief in the US will like it. You never know. Would you really be fired if you included that? They admitted they liked the singing but apparently, they didn’t dare to.
Only after many hours, one of the famous Breslov (Rabbi Nachman) vehicles with blaring loudspeakers stopped at the crossing. Breslovniks emerged dancing, jumping, and singing. There is nothing more whole than a broken heart. Nothing dispels anger and pain as well as happiness.
There is so much we Jews can all do to stop terrorists who want to kill us although/because they don’t even know us. Being happy, social, moderate, speaking peacefully, doing the Commandments happily from a good heart.
May the bereaved be comforted from Heaven, the wounded recover fully, and we all have a joyous, light-filled new month for a better world for all.