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and then life moves on

Wednesday, 3 December, 2014 - 9:40 pm


Indeed, life moves on.  No, it's not that we are callous or insensitive.  It is precisely because we feel so deeply that we must move on.  To honor the memory of those murdered and to give value to their lives cut short.  This is the way of the Torah.  One sits Shiva for seven days and then gets up to continue with their life.  G-d has a way of healing our wounds, of making us dull to the profound pain, because otherwise we wouldn't move on. And move on we must.

Jacob sees his brother Esau in front of him and prepares in three ways: prayer, gift and war.  Jacob is faced with yet another challenge, for the life of the righteous is fraught with challenge.  This time it is not his tricky father in law Laban, but his very own brother who approaches with an army of 400 men.  Jacob is not afraid to lift a sword yet it is not his first choice.  He hopes that prayer alone will be sufficient to deter Esau.  If that won't work, diplomacy will be next; a gift.  But if that too fails, if it is clear as day that the enemy is not prepared to come around to the side of all that is holy and good, then we must be prepared to lift a sword.

If you are able to lift a sword, then in your own way, you ought to.  For me, for now, this is the role of our brave soldiers in the US Army and the Israel Army and allies of the free world.  

If you are able to use influence in diplomacy, you ought to.  For me, for now, this is the role of those leaders in Chabad, in the rest of the Jewish world and the leaders of any group that cares for all that we hold dear and holy.

If you have a mouth, you ought to pray.  I do, so I will.  I will also lift a sword and use diplomacy. For now, it is of a different nature. It is the sword, or the "torches" of light, the Mitzvah, the good deeds that each of us can do to make the world a brighter place, to chase away the negativity to chase away the darkness.  I will use diplomacy with the foreigners within myself; my evil inclination and animal soul, the parts of me that wish to prevent my efforts to be a better person and to make the world a better place.  

Although at the end Jacob’s prayer did work, he was still prepared to fight, and so we remain, unafraid but ready for a better outcome.

With blessings for a great week!


Rabbi Kushi Schusterman 

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