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On the Recent Tragedies in Israel

As we all know, there have been a number of tragedies in Israel during the last few months. It is not easy for us living in America to determine what the proper response should be to such horrific events.

The tragedies over the last few months began with the murder of a baby girl who was born to parents who were barren for many years. After the parents prayed at the Kotel and were blessed with a child, terrorists took the girl from them. After tragedies like this, we must ask ourselves how we can channel our emotional response into the service of God. Hopefully, we will not simply feel bad temporarily before returning to our normal routines. Instead of wondering why a particular tragedy occurs, which is beyond the scope of our understanding, it is our responsibility to ask how the tragedies should affect us, and how we can improve our service of God. For instance, the profound tragedy in Har Nof  last week, in which victims were struck down in the middle of prayer, should inspire us to reevaluate our own behavior, specifically during prayer. By choosing to commit ourselves to the service of God and to reevaluate our behaviors as a result of tragedies, we can hope that we will see no future tragedy.

The Talmud (Berakhot 6a) discusses God’s personal set of teffilin. Rabbi Hiyya bar Abin explains that unlike human teffilin, God’s pair only contains only a single verse: “Who is like your nation- Israel, one nation in the land” (I Chronicles 17:21). When the nation of Israel is unified, they maintain a certain strength and resilience.  We must look at ourselves as a unified whole, with each component contributing a positive element.

By improving our behavior and furthering the belief in the hand of God, and by trusting in divine justice, we can enlighten our perspectives on Israel and its current dilemmas, and on our role in the world.  As our interpersonal actions improve, our actions between ourselves and God will be enhanced simultaneously.

Rabbi Meir Goldwicht is a Rosh Yeshiva in the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.