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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sometimes We Need to Cry...

Another attack. The text message I received said 12 injured, one seriously. Another news source said 16. (i'm sure there will be at least 3 comments correcting this fact).

As I put my phone back on the passenger seat of my car, something caught my ear. I turned up my fake '3 weeks' music - "Umacha Hashem dima’ah meial kol panim" ("may Hashem wipe away the tears from every face").

Yeh, sounds about right...

In December 2001, the Aish.com featured article really moved me. It was written by Chezi Goldberg, hours after the triple bombing in Ben Yehuda. Maybe it gave me some inspiration, or clarity, or maybe it was hope. But every few weeks I would go back and re-read the article. (7 years later, I still do.) Two years after he wrote the article, Rabbi Goldberg was killed in a terrorist attack.

I walked into work this morning, and my co-worker asked me how I was. I shrugged and said I was fine. I now shrug to myself. Am I 'fine'?

I hope that posting the article below will provide something to at least one person out there....
IF YOU DON'T CRY, WHO WILL?

7:30 a.m. Israel time, Sunday December 2, 2001. Eight Hours after the triple-terror attack on Jerusalem's popular Ben Yehudah pedestrian mall.

He walked into shul. I nodded my acknowledgment like I always do. He made some strange gesture, which I couldn't understand. I went on with the business of the prayer service.

A few minutes later, he walked over to me and said, "Didn't you hear?"

"Hear about what?"

"Didn't you HEAR?"

I understood that he was talking about last night's terror attack on Ben Yehudah Mall.

I assumed that he obviously intended that someone we knew was hurt or killed.

"About who?"

He looked at me as if I had landed from another planet. "About who? About everyone who was attacked last night."

I nodded, "Yes, I heard."

"Then why aren't you crying?"

His words shot through me like a spear piercing my heart. Our Sages teach that "words that come from the heart enter the heart." He was right. Why wasn't I crying?

I could not answer. I had nothing to say.

He pointed around the shul. "Why aren't all my friends crying?"

I could not answer. I had nothing to say.

"Shouldn't we all be crying?"

He was right. What has happened to all of us? -- myself included. We have turned to stone. Some would call it numbness. Some would call it collective national shock. Some would say that we all have suffered never-ending trauma and it has affected our senses.

The excuses are worthless. All the reasons in the world don't justify our distance from the pain that is burning in our midst.

When an attack happens, in the heat of the moment, we frantically check to see if someone we know has been hurt or killed. And then, if we find out that "our friends and family are safe," we breathe a deep sigh of relief, grunt and grumble about the latest tragic event and then, continue with our robotic motions and go on with our lives.

We have not lost our minds, my friends. We have lost our hearts.

And that is why we keep on losing our lives.

IF NOT ME, WHO?

When I left the shul, my friend said to me with tears dripping from his bloodshot eyes, "I heard that the Torah teaches that for every tear that drops from our eyes, another drop of blood is saved."

We are living in a time of absolute madness. And yet, we detach ourselves and keep running on automatic in our daily lives.

Last night, 10 people were killed and nearly 200 were injured. Even MSNBC referred to the triple terror attack as a "slaughter."

And still, we are not crying.

Perhaps my friends, we are foolish to believe that the nations of the world should be upset about the continuous murder and slaughter of Jews -- if we ourselves are not crying about it. Am I not my brother's keeper?

The most effective way for us to stop the carnage in our midst is to wake up and to react to it from our hearts. How can we demand that God stop the tragedy, when most of us react like robots when tragedy strikes?

If we don't cry about what is happening around us, who will?

If you don't cry about what is happening around us, who will?

If I don't cry about what is happening to us, who will?

Maybe our salvation from this horrific mess will come only after we tune into our emotions and cry and scream about it.

NUMB TO THE PAIN

My friend walked into shul this morning and from the looks on his friends' faces, he could not tell that they had heard what had happened on Ben Yehudah Mall.

When our enemies pound us and we fail to react because we no longer feel the pain, we are truly in a precarious position in the battle to survive.

I know a woman who has no sensitivity in her fingers. When she approaches fire, she doesn't feel the pain. That puts her in a dangerous position because she might be getting burnt and not know it, because her senses don't feel it.

If we are being hurt and we don't feel it, then we are in a very risky position. A devastating 3-pronged suicide attack on Jerusalem's most popular thoroughfare should evoke a cry of pain and suffering from all of us, should it not? Unless of course, we have lost our senses.

And if we have lost our senses, then what hope is there?

I turn on the news to hear of more carnage in Haifa. Sixteen dead. Sixteen of my brothers and sisters.

King Solomon said, "There is a time for everything." Now is the time for crying.

May God protect each and every one of us from our enemies so that we will not have to cry in the future.


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