Since starting this weekly tradition of sharing my thoughts with you all, this has been the hardest. It has been a big struggle to process the tragedy our fellow Americans faced this week, and furthermore put in writing something meaningful and comforting.
Indeed, there are no words. There is nothing one can say that will bring back these pure and precious children. Their lives taken so cruelly. Twenty one families are missing their loved ones and suffering unimaginable pain. There is little to be said, we simply must grieve and mourn together.
The Torah believes in life and doing all we can to safeguard and preserve it. Knowing this, as we face this growing crisis, society must, must come together to do all it can to prevent such horror. All leaders and experts in their respective fields (firearm laws, school security, mental health experts, education professionals, etc.) must work together to ensure children who go to school will always be safe. And as a Jewish community leader, I, can best talk to my area of expertise.
After the attempted assassination on Ronald Reagan, the Rebbe addressed this very issue of how young people, regardless of family upbringing and fiscal background, can end up committing such horrors.
What solution can there possibly be to help solve this urgent crisis at its core? To holistically bring our society to a place where firearms, shatter proof glass, and high tech surveillance, are all no longer necessary.
I firmly believe, so much could be accomplished, and prevented, through deeper spirituality in our children's upbringing.
As parents, are we raising our children with the recognition that they are created in the Divine image? That they have a unique purpose here on earth? That it is up to them to increase in acts of goodness and kindness and make this world a kinder place, not just for themselves but for others as well?
If we teach our youth to take even a brief moment each day to reflect on why they are here in this world and what G-d wants from them today, and that He is watching them, they will live better that day. If we encourage one another to place even a few coins in a charity box each morning it will no doubt help plant in us seeds of giving and sharing with others.
As the great teacher and philosopher Maimonides wrote, each individual must view themselves and the entire world as equally balanced. The one action that you take, can tip the scale and change the destiny of the entire universe.
We eagerly await the day when G‑d will "wipe away the tears from upon all faces," and when we will be able to "beat swords into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks" so that humankind can live in true peace and harmony with one another with the coming of Moshiach.
In the meantime each of us has work to do. Let's tip the scale and make it happen.
Rabbi Mendel Alperowitz Blog
Serving the spiritual needs of the South Dakota Jewish community. Based in Sioux Falls and travels the state.