Rabbi Milevsky's Thought of the Week: Chaya Sarah - 5779

As Jews, we take great pride in our heritage, traditions and history. As committed Torah Jews, we understand that we were chosen by Hashem to teach the world about the purpose and value of life. Unfortunately, our message is not always heard.  Pogroms, massacres and extermination are part of our history and consciousness.

When Jews are killed because of their Jewishness, we consider them Kedoshim - souls who depart the world in pure holiness.  Our books are filled with stories of the Kedoshim; K’doshei Mainz of the 11th century, K’doshei Nemirov of the 17th  century, K’doshei Europe of the 20th  century, to name just a few.

The events that occurred last Shabbat in a synagogue, a location of holiness on a day of holiness, has added to the bitter list a new name; K’doshei Pittsburgh.

These 11 precious souls entered into a structure designated for prayer, reflection and song, to be gunned down by a person filled with filth, venom and hatred.

Why such terrible things happen, I do not know.  By now, I am accustomed to live with question marks. Yet, I do believe that our tradition teaches us that we fight darkness with light. We will comfort the mourners, feel and pray for the aching and commit to making our synagogue a place that brings light and happiness to the world.

May Hashem comfort the mourners, have mercy on His children and protect all people who enter into a synagogue, school or yeshiva to talk to the G-d of mercy.

Shabbat Shalom