It’s been a hard tekufa. Tragedies occur, but sometimes they are closer to home and more frequent. When it’s close to home we tend to feel the pain more acutely. Pain is an interesting phenomenon: while it is objectively undesirable, pain ultimately is to our benefit. When we feel pain it is a nervous reaction in our body – often to impending danger. Pain is the way our brain tell us something is wrong. Chazal tell us that that it is not only the body’s signal that we need to take care of an impending problem but also Hashem’s way of telling us we must amend our ways (הרואה יסורין באין עליו יפשפש/ימשמש במעשיו). This is the reason the yesurin are מידה כנגד מידה – so that we should be able to figure out what the message is supposed to be.
Hashem is our father; just like a father, when Hashem hits us with a message He hits us where we can handle it. A father won’t give a punch in the stomach. Likewise, Hashem doesn’t strike the weak amongst us. Hashem strikes those who can handle the pain. All too often the message is really intended for the weaker ones.
Last week Hashem took from us a young woman: Shoshana Lubin. She had become a Kalah just a week earlier. This week Hashem took from us a couple and their infant child. Yesterday Hashem took from us two adorable little girls. Today Hashem took from us a 15 year old bachur and Rav Yankel Galinsky זצ״ל.
To call it a tragic week is to put it mildly. It has truly been a most painful week.
Reb Tzadok Hakohen tells us (in various places) that when great tragedies occur to Am-Yisroel it could be that everyone has a different message to take from it. It is therefore impossible to come and say “this” is the message Hashem wishes to reach us… While no one can proclaim a reason for such calamities we can and should share with one another lessons we can take from them.
There is one lesson in particular that seems to stick out. Hashem took from us so many unexpected people in such unexpected ways. Hashem took from us people that one usually would take for granted. Since Hashem showers us with so much good fortune we don’t fully appreciate what He gives us.
How often does Hashem cause a random building to blow up from a gas line explosion? How often does Hashem take children by allowing an exterminator to leave around so much extra poison? Who would expect a 19 year old miracle to just all of a sudden have a heart attack?
Hashem took from us so many people whom we took for granted.
We live in a very good period of time. Over all life is good. We Baruch Hashem do not know real poverty nor do we know real oppression. Most of us for the most part are very comfortable. Perhaps amongst other lessons we are ignoring the lesson of appreciating all that Hashem has given us. Maybe if we leave our greed behind and begin to thank Hashem for everything he has given us we can avoid having more precious people from being taken from our midst. By showing appreciation to Hashem for all he has given us we are telling Hashem we are ready to appreciate the ultimate good with the coming of Mashiach.
A very warm Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Y. Dov Krakowski.