Lechovod our dear kehila, talmidim, and all the hurting hearts of Klal Yisroel – Shalom uBeracha. May Hashem watch and protect all of you together with the whole nation of Klal Yisroel forever.
The tragic besurah we all received this past Motzai Shabbos is one that none of us are or should be equipped to absorb, process, understand or explain. As “Ma’aminim bnei Ma’aminim” all we can say is: צדיק ה' בכל דרכיו
The purpose of my few words here are directed to a different issue, “How Do We Move On From Here?” How do we direct our overwhelming feelings of sadness, love and responsibility that all of us are undoubtedly feeling at this time? We know that when Yaakov Avinu saw his son Yosef the first time after over 20 years of absence and mourning, the first thing he did was recite Krias Shema before he had any emotions. One of the interpretations as to why Yaakov felt that he must read Shema at that specific time, was in order to capture that particular historical moment of his life, a moment when he was overcome with love, and to channel it to Hashem. It is my strong feeling that we are in a similar point in our lives, when our feelings have piqued to historical levels; it is therefore incumbent upon us to channel them in the right direction.
We must understand that every single Jew of every stripe is both our beloved brother and the beloved child of Hashem. These special, holy Yidden from Pittsburgh have been hatefully and mercilessly killed while they were communicating with Hashem, and killed for one reason and one reason only: because they were JEWS. Hashem’s children. This type of killing renders each and every one of them a “Kadosh” – dying al kiddush Hashem, the highest level one can reach.
I ask all of you to internalize this idea for the rest of your lives and raise the respect you have for every single Jew, irrelevant of whether you and he agrees on all or most issues. How often do we fall prey to looking down at another Jew, even in our own community, just because they may have a different shittah or haskafah on any given issue? If we use this tragic event to inspire us to a heightened level of ahavas and kavod habriyos (love and respect for creations), these kedoshim will have a tremendous Aliyah and will live on with all of us.
I also ask each and every one of us to learn one Halacha a day from one of the Sifrei Chofetz Chaim – שמירת הלשון or אהבת חסד – as an illuy neshama for all the kedoshim, and as a zechus to the cholim of this horrible massacre, may they all have a refuah sheleima bimheira.
May Hashem Yisborach avenge the blood of all the victims of hate and bestow beracha and Shalom to all of Klal Yisroel with the speedy geulah in our days אכי״ר.