There are no words in time and space to offer for the devastating discovery of the bodies of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel. Their murders and those who rejoice view their deaths with political purpose and their lives as nothing more than rats to be exterminated. Because of the politics, because of painful emotions, the divine dignity of these three young men was stripped away and their kidnappers annihilated them.
What truth can possibly comfort us?
A primary truth that might approach comforting us is to know that our perception of this tragedy as an evil crime is reality. There is no way at all that these three young men, nor their families, nor the existence of the state of Israel, caused the pain of those who wish Israel would not exist. The basis of monotheism is that there is only One cause, and that is Hashem. Through the history of the entire existence of the Medina and the Jewish People, with all our sufferings, the Holocaust, the pogroms, the expulsions and more, is only One Source. From our perspective in time and space, without Torah to guide us, we truly would be in the dark, at the whim of our negatively charged emotions, falling into the grip of bad choices when we feel disempowered or experience loss – falling under the dominion of human nature with no other recourse to search for another way to understand, a higher understanding that can bring holiness and light. Hashem gave us the Torah and revealed Himself at Har Sinai. There is nothing in the world but the Glory of Hashem, the Soul of the World Whose Thought and Utterances create our reality. Everyone, Jew and non-Jew, is responsible to conduct ourselves in accordance with His Will as given in Torah or the Noahide laws. Hashem set the entire course of events from the beginning of time into motion and we are accountable for our choices when presented with circumstances designed to reveal our allegiance to Him, our commitment to serve Him with love and awe, naase v’nisma.
Another primary truth that may comfort us is to know that these deaths are also from Hashem. There is no answer to our question of why that we like to heal us in time and space. Asking why does not help us. There is nothing that will restore the past and bring back these young men. That tragedy is eternal. Those who committed it will hopefully be brought to justice. There is nothing that will fill the hole left by the terrible demise of these young men. The fabric of life, the families, the whole country, the Jewish people, grieve.
Anger. Pain. Tears. Outrage. Tremendous suffering.
What we can ask ourselves is what does Hashem want from me in this moment, the same question that is the basis of our service in every moment of our lives. What does Hashem want from me THIS moment upon hearing this bitter news?
With us in this suffering is the Shechina. In all the world there is nothing but Hashem, and He is involved in every tear, every heartache, every cry. Hashem is thinking of us and uttering every detail into existence and is the place in which the drama of our lives and this tragedy and all of history takes place. He is here. Suffering. Patiently. Yearning for us to identify within us a way for Him to help us. He loves us. He gives us free will. We are His Children. His Chosen People. Nishmas Am Yisrael. But He creates the world and gives the choice to have awe of Hashem or not into free willed choice.
Hashem is so big He can create a reality with so many levels above what we experience in time and space. He sent us into this world to have a relationship with us. Our happiness, real happiness, is built into the soul when we make effort to serve Hashem. There is no other real happiness, although sometimes our happiness appears to come from this world. In every moment, we thank Hashem, for the air, for the food, for the good health. He is the Source. But He is not a vending machine. We are here to serve Hashem according to Torah, His Thought and Will. When we involve ourselves with His Thoughts, we rise above our thoughts. When we generate emotions and speech and deeds based on Torah and emulating Hashem, we bring His Torah through the vessel of the body He gives us in time and space and utter words that soar with love and awe up to the heavenly realms, an echo of His Will that gives Him Nachas.
Until we understand that doing so is the source of happiness, we are trapped in blame and shame, in a molecule of desire for happiness that causes discontent with those we perceive as withholding it from us. Inherently that strips away everyone’s divine dignity and if we are not careful we succumb to believing that our only resource is to destroy those we believe are responsible without remembering to turn to Hashem, the primary Cause. We can bring them to justice. To destroy what is responsible WE have to destroy within us false hopes for our happiness and bring back to truth the proper locale of our happiness, which is service of Hashem. Perhaps if we seek to have the relationship with Hashem where we are able to experience happiness in His service there would be no need for Him to inflict bitterness upon us designed to shepherd us back toward the fulfillment of our role as Nishmas Am Yisrael in our service to Him by following Torah and having sincere relationship with Him. Perhaps we might think of activities that we can do today to reveal tzelem elokim and help us rise to a level above time and space to an infinite path of holiness. And may our efforts to do so return to Hashem His first born child, Nishmas Am Yisrael, and may He speedily send a new light into the world.