Each week, words freely flow from my fingertips while composing a Shabbat message to our community. Yet, this morning, I stared at a blank page for hours. What words can describe the week that was, the murder of 19 children and two lifelong educators? After days like Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York, and a litany too long to list, the simplest question we ask and most difficult to answer is, “Why?”
Rabbi Shimon Gershon Rosenberg, in his book Faith Shattered and Restored seeks to teach a post-modern generation yearning to encounter God in a world at odds with religious experience. He writes, “To cope with a life devoid of meaning, one must not seek out meaning, but rather affirm life as it is; not attempt to refute the disquieting conclusion that life is meaningless, but succeed in leading a meaningless life without becoming unsettled; defusing the potentially paralyzing discovery that there is no answer to the question of life.”
We are living through moments that feel meaningless. These are not times that we must express our doubts in faith and cry out to God and each other. And at the same time, these are the moments where our faith community is most needed; embracing each other in sadness and anger, holding each others hands in love and support.
This Shabbat, we once again read names whose lives were taken before their time.
Nevaleh Bravo, Jackie Cazares, Makenna Lee Elrod, Jose Flores Jr., Eliahna Garcia, Irma Garcia, Amerie Jo Garza, Uziyah Garcia, Xavier Lopez, Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, Tess Mata, Miranda Mathis, Eva Mireles, Alithia Ramirez, Annabell Rodriguez, Maite Rodriguez, Alexandra Aniyah Rubio, Layla Salazar, Jaliah Nicole Silguero, Eliahana Cruz Torres, and Rojelio Torres
This Shabbat, let us not seek meaning in a tragedy. Instead, let’s learn the stories of these young people and their teachers. Google them–hear what these children loved and learn about their families.
There is no magical solution to the restoration of faith, but the work reaching out to each other, learning the stories of our neighbors and our friends, is the first step to rebuilding a world with love.