Yoseph Janowski
By the Grace of G-d

What do you say?

Sometimes, nothing.

Sometimes, there is absolutely nothing to say.

You think about the Holocaust. and how the whole world was silent, let it happen. What do you say? How did we keep going?

We just did.

And we looked ahead, to a time when everything will be wonderful, when we will laugh and dance and sing.

But until that time, what can we say?

“I will thank you G-d, that you were angry at me.” (Isaiah 12; 1) Why did the prophet use the future tense, “I will thank you.”?

Because only in the future, when we are happy, when those who departed will rise, only then will we appreciate, understand, and thank G-d that He was angry.

But for now, silence.

When Aaron’s two sons died, in the middle of great rejoicing, as the Jewish people celebrated the new Mishkan (Temple) built in the desert, after they had miraculously left Egypt, were saved from their enemies when the water split, and received the ten commandments while witnessing awesome revelations of G-dliness, after all that wondrous closeness to G-d, their Deliverer, at the height of a special closeness with G-d in the new Mishkan, two of Aaron’s sons died while (inappropriately) bringing an offering to G-d. And when this happened, what was Aaron’s reaction? Silence.

Because in our silence, we believe.

Belief starts where understanding stops. We can’t understand why G-d does things. Our understanding is not able to grasp even a bit of His understanding. But we believe.

What do we believe? That G-d is good. And that everything that He does is ultimately for our benefit. And even if we don’t understand now how everything is for our benefit, we believe that a time will come, when we will appreciate and thank Him.

We, the Jewish people, are an enigma. What other nation would go through such a challenging history, with unspeakable tragedies, and yet still believe, and stay true to G-d?

Our suffering is unimaginable. But so is our tremendous steadfast belief, loyalty, and determination to cleave close to our G-d.

Jews. We suffer, and we sing. And we persevere.

We are silent, and then we dance. Our soldiers cry, and then they sing, with joy, determination, and tremendous belief.

Our people argue, debate, scream. And then we unite. Because we believe in G-d, and in ourselves.

We believe that, through everything, we, the Jewish nation will survive. And we trust that G-d will help us and save us.

When I studied in yeshiva, I remember when some Russian Jews left Russia. They went to Israel, and they came to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

And I remember that the Rebbe encouraged them to sing their songs from Russia. And I remember one song.

“In water we won’t drown, in fire we won’t burn.”

And they sang with indescribable joy.

Because the Jewish people are eternal. Our existence defies logic. Our belief and trust in G-d is beyond understanding.

So we sing, dance, and trust that we will be victorious, and that G-d will miraculously bring our Redemption with Moshiach very soon.

Because we believe.

About the Author
The author lives in Toronto, Canada. He has written for
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