Honorable Mensch-ion

Light the Candles for Those Who Cannot

A cousin, a friend, a sibling, a child. There is not a Jew in the world who does not know someone who has been personally affected by the Simchat Torah massacre in the State of Israel. We try to awaken ourselves from the nightmare, but it is not yet possible.

Philo of Alexandria, the first century philosopher, asks if Shabbat is the end of one week or the beginning of another. He writes, “Their endings are the beginnings of other things, as the end of day is the beginning of night. Birth again is accomplished through other things’ perishing. Nothing born goes to ruin.”

Thousands of Jewish lives are gone. Children murdered in their beds with parents trying to protect them. The words and the pictures are horrific.

And yet…..and yet…..

Tonight, we will light two Shabbat candles. One for shamor, to observe the Shabbat, and the other for zachor, to remember Shabbat.

If there were ever a time to light these candles and bring light back into the world, the time is now. Shamor—observe the Shabbat for all those lives who will never sit at the Shabbat table on this earth again. Observe Shabbat for the soldiers of the IDF who will not be able to pray, to eat, and to sing songs with their families tonight because they are on the front lines allowing us to be with our families this Shabbat.

Zachor—remember. Remember the lives lost because they were in the land of Israel and because they were Jews.

Last night, I received a call from a cousin who was serving in the IDF. As he spoke, I could hear a jet over head. He updated me on the situation on the ground and then he began to cry.

He told me that in the war room where he is working, there are hundreds of greeting cards that are written by young children from around the world, wishing them strength, success, and peace. As college campuses around the United States are filled with students marching to chants of “Death To Israel” and “Bring The Intifada,” we stand strong, we stand proud, and we light two candles to usher in Shabbat. It is the light of the actions of each of us that must shine through to bring back a sense of humanity that we have lost. Achad Ha-am taught, as much as the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.

This Shabbat will be like no other. Light the candles, hug your loved ones. Remember those lost, and pray for the return of our brothers and sister missing.

Let each flicker of light from the Shabbat candles bring a spark of hope to the days ahead.

God bless the State of Israel.

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