Friday, February 17, 2023

Faith amidst Tragedy

Amid great darkness, we witnessed a bright light. I am referring to the unspeakable tragedy of the terror attack in Jerusalem shortly before Shabbos last week. A Palestinian motorist plowed into a crowded bus stop and killed three innocent Jews. Among the casualties were two young brothers Asher Menachem Paley who was eight and Yaakov Yisroel Paley who was six. Two precious young innocent children whose lives were snuffed out in an instant in an act of the most violent Jew-hatred. Their father was seriously injured and remains hospitalized in serious condition.  The family sat shiva, and it was nothing short of remarkable. The visitors who came to pay condolences traveled from around Israel to their modest apartment to comfort the bereaved. Jews from all walks of life, backgrounds, and religious observances. The family estimates that at least half of the visitors were people who did not know them before the tragedy. They came as members of a larger Jewish family. The fact they did not know the Paley family did not stop many visitors from shedding tears and weeping as they came to wish their condolences. Great Sages, Rabbis, and the Prime Minister were among the guests who paid their respects to a Shiva filled with emotion and heartbreak.  One thing that stood out was the incredible strength of the boys' mother, Devorah Paley. She said that despite losing two precious jewels, she still has strength and faith. The children were given to her as gifts and treasures to cherish. They now reached their “tikkun” (purpose of living). She recalled as she reached the scene and saw paramedics administering CPR to her son and quickly realized the resuscitation efforts would not succeed. The grieving mother called for peace and prayer. Don't look for someone to blame or revenge, as this was a message from God. She called her children that were killed sacrifices for the People of Israel. She pleaded with the visitors that came to pay her condolences and the Jewish People that the sacrifices should not be in vain.  In the midst of her heartbreak and tragedy, she was able to teach all of us an important lesson. She taught us that while the most devout and pious are not immune from tragedy, the faith that someone has in G-d will give them strength to endure any challenge in life.  Have a Peaceful Shabbos, Rabbi Yaakov Fisch

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