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Silence Can NOT Be the answer

08/28/2017 03:49:22 PM


As I contemplate the events from Charlottesville to Barcelona, I think about the words of a prayer I recently heard: “You have given us a wonderful and horrible world, God. Why? Why is this world so beautiful and yet so full of pain and evil? Why do some live in peace while others live in fear and war? Why did you bless with one hand, god, and then curse humanity with the other?”

 Once again, we are reminded, in this world that G_d created, along with the godliness, there also exists evil and curses. The events in Charlottesville and in Spain caused me to temporally forget the beautiful blessings of this life and left me focusing only on the horrible and violent parts of life. My normal outlook of gratitude and thankfulness has been replaced by a state of mind overwhelmed with disgust, anger, sadness, and fear.  I have been affected deeply by images of the signs that read: ” Jews will not replace us”, and messages that spoke about overthrowing the “Jewish media”.  I have read of eyewitness accounts from members of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, recalling the intimidation they felt when three white supremacists dressed in fatigues and armed with rifles, stood across the street as the congregation came together for Shabbat worship. 

By nature, I am not an activist. I do not envision a time when I would choose to engage face to face with a neo-Nazi or KKK member.  However, I cannot sit back and let evil go unanswered. The words of Edmund Burke resonate in my soul: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing”. 
The same prayer I quoted earlier has a second paragraph. It reads: ” Please show yourself, God; help us. Give us the courage and compassion to overcome hatred and bloodshed. Turn our disinterest into action and transform our despair into hope”.

To me, these words of prayer inspire me to do what I can to increase deeds of goodness and acts of loving- kindness. My choice is to respond to the hate and violence with a handful of blessed acts. I am not so naïve as to believe that good deeds alone will eradicate evil from the world. But we can and we must do what we can as good and decent people, to shape society by our actions. After witnessing such evil in our world, it is time for each of us to partner with God, and find ways to create new blessings in our relationships and the greater community.

In 1948, just three years following the Holocaust, Chaim Weitzman, the first President of the state of Israel broadcasted a famous call to Jewish people all over the world: ” after Hitler murdered a third of the Jewish nation, it is the foremost duty of every Jew to be a ‘third more’ Jewish.  Please, I beg every Jewish person in the world, be a ‘third more’ Jewish. Triple your good deeds, triple your kindness, and make up for the third of our nation that was brutally decimated”. It seems to me, after the senseless death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, after the murders of fellow Americans in Fort Hood Texas, Boston and Orlando, after hundreds of men, women and children have been slaughtered by terrorists in Israel, after hundreds of thousands have been killed in Syria, Pakistan and around the world by Isis, it is once again an appropriate time to respond to the challenge from Chaim Weitzman. Similarly, in the aftermath of such evil among us, we must do everything in our power to increase our deeds of goodness and holiness.  We can pray, we can increase our charitable giving, or perform random acts of kindness for a stranger.  What are your suggestions to respond to the hatred, violence and bloodshed? How can we transform our despair into hope? I would like to hear from you.


Mon, 27 May 2024