Monday, December 1, 2008

Moving on from Mumbai- Why we should really be thankful

When we heard of the news in Mumbai over the weekend we all were disgusted, scared and at least until Friday afternoon, hopeful the Holtzberg's would somehow, someway, find their way to safety.
Unfortunately, we now know that wasn't the case. We have all read reports of the suffering the Holtzberg's endured prior to their executions at the hands of the Perah Adom- Bnei Yishmoel. We have read that they were amongst the first executed and the torture they endured prior to their deaths. We know they were first because they were Jews and the Jews are the ultimate enemy of the Perah Adom-Bnei Yishmoel.
So what do we do now? We moved on from 9-11 and from all the suicide bombings in the Holy Land of Israel. We move on because we have to, because as the Chovos Halevovos taught us, the gift of memory and lack thereof is one that G-d has given us so we can endure and move on from these and other likewise situations. But what do we move on to? Where are we moving on from?
You read about the Holtzberg's and their unbelievable Mesiras Nefesh to try and make this a better world for us all. We read about a family who picks up and moves to some G-d forsaken city on the other side of the world, with no one but themselves to just try and pick up and spark up the small bits of holiness that might exist in that place. They do it just because maybe some Yid needs a place to eat while on a business trip or maybe some lost Soul, in trying to discover the religions of the East has one last hope to come back to his Father in Heaven. The Holtzberg's aren't the only ones doing this. There are many, many, many different people in different places, some as far away as Mumbai and some just around the corner or perhaps even your next door neighbor doing similar great acts.
And that is the whole point of all this. The Jewish religion is one that preaches love, peace, harmony and Kavod Habriyos (respect and love for all of G-d's creations). This is the direct opposite of the Islamic Fundamentalists, who's lives center around destruction, murder, hatred and the mutilation of all that is beautiful in this world. They raise their children to await the day that they can cause such tremendous pain and suffering to the world, so that they can murder innocent women and children, destroying any fabric of a productive and healthy society (the images of the murderous Perah Adom dancing in the streets as the Towers burned still prevail in mine and many minds).
I'm sure most of you have heard your local Rabbi's this week preach of doing better, doing one extra mitzvah, helping one more person, saying one more tefillah, etc in the Zchus and Memory of the Holy Holtzberg's. That's typical of what we hear during these times. Do one more act of Chesed in memory of the Holtzberg's. Give a little more charity in their memory. While all that is good and should be done, we need to do something a lot more simple. We need to just recognize who we are and how different we are than the destructive vermin that cause this suffering. We need to just look at what our lives and communities are surrounded around (minus all the usual nonsense). How we sacrifice (not with our lives but with our LIVES) for our children, how we support so many institutions that center around people who can't afford either schooling, food, rent, etc. How we suffer when our friends and neighbors suffer. How we hurt when we her of some stranger going through a difficult time. We need to reflect that yes maybe everything isn't perfect in how we conduct our lives and maybe we should compromise more, but more importantly the fact that we can think that way and act that way is reason enough to be thankful. Thankful that we dream of watching our children learn and grow and hope that one day they will raise a beautiful family of their own, and not hoping our children grow up to be the cause and destruction and mutilation to someone elses family and dreams. We need to remember we live in a world filled with beauty and hope and all we need to do is focus on that and realize how far we are from the Perah Adom who has caused all this pain.
We can then wake up every morning screaming "Modeh Ani Lefanetha, MELECH CHAI V'KAYOM!" knowing that we may not know why, or we may not like what is happening, but still, we love who we are and we know from how we live, we were created in the Image of G-d.
It's not much, but it's everything. It's the easiest thing to do, yet the hardest thing to remember.
Then, and only then will we truly realize how great the Holtzberg's and many like them really are.

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