The world was shocked upon learning that ISIS has once more attacked innocents in their attempt to make the world cower into submission. I am sure that you, like me, were saddened, frightened, and dismayed – and are there really words to describe our feelings? While driving to the temple, my soul began singing a response to my sorrow, the words of Rebbe Nachman of Braslav: “Kol ha’olam kulo gesher tzar me’od, ve’ha’ikar lo lefached clal (The whole world is a narrow bridge, the key is not to be afraid).”
On this narrow bridge that we call our world, we wonder: where is one safe? At what moment might terrible things happen to us or to those we love? Do we stop traveling? Do we go into our homes and lock the doors? But we are taught this important lesson: the fundamental thing is, do not be afraid. Yes, the world is unpredictable. Yes, there are aspects outside of our control. This is not new; our ancestors confronted this as well, maybe more so.
We cannot live in fear; that’s not a life. We must do what we can to bring safety to our lives and then we must go out and live a life of fullness, a life of blessings.
I once asked my mother, of blessed memory, “After the Holocaust, how could you even think about having children, of bringing a new life to this scary world?” My mother simply answered: “Because life goes on. We have faith in the future, that it will be a better world. So we have children…”
Faith in the future, and a belief that ultimately good will triumph over evil. That is the message of Purim after all.
May you have a week of blessings and a Shabbat of peace, inside our homes and in our hearts.
Rabbi Debbie Israel