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A Response to the Bombings

04/18/2013 11:26:05 AM



I vividly remember when I was a kid, coming home on a sunny afternoon in March. I walked through the door and heard the sound of the TV on in the background. It was strange to me because my mother never watched TV when I came home from school. As I walked into the living room, my mother uttered, "The President had been shot." I remember feeling that I was safe, because things like this only happened to Presidents and famous people.

Sadly, recent history teaches us that the feelings of my youth are wrong. Whether it because of Columbine, Oklahoma City, or even 9/11, we now have learned that the average citizen, the Mensch, and even the school child are not immune to horrific acts of violence. Shockingly, through Newtown and now Boston, we have been forced to realize that not only are our children not immune, but we all are not immune to random acts of violence. After watching the horrific images from Boston, I feel sad, bewildered, and even frustrated. The sheer senselessness of attacking innocent people is beyond my comprehension. Though I know it is a possibility, it does not remove my feelings of sorrow and disbelief.

But with that sense of reality, I am reminded of the Jewish perspective about chaos. As Jews, we are supposed to look to the book of Job. While many of us know the story contains a tale of woe about a kind and compassionate person, underneath the story is a message about why bad, horrific, and even chaotic things happen in this world. Job is not only afflicted with a disease but he loses everyone and everything of importance in his life. The only thing he wishes to know is the answer to the question, "Why?" In the story, God does talk with Job, but God explains that humanity will never understand the chaos.

The story teaches that bad things not only happen to bad people, but they also happen to good people. The story teaches that good things can happen to good and bad people. Why? Job tells us that we will never know why. The reality is, we live in a world where people will choose good or evil. Job and all Jewish tradition teach us that we must choose good.

A two thousand year old text states that "in a place where no one is acting in a righteous way, it is incumbent upon ‘us’ to act righteously." Therefore, my response to the bombings in Boston is not to let the terrorists win. I must be vigilant, I must be aware, but I will not let them stop me from running my life. If I stopped doing the things I love to do, if I stopped going to the places I love to visit, if I stopped behaving the way I should, then they win.

The bombings in Boston have reminded us that shootings and bombings not only happen to famous people; they can also happen to anyone. The book of Job reminds us that we live in a chaotic world and we will never know why these acts of violence go on. But most importantly, our Judaism teaches us that we must go on. We must continue to spread kindness and compassion. We must continue to be a light unto the nations.

May it be God's will that we strive to bring goodness and righteousness into this world, providing such a bright light that shines like a beacon in the sky, lighting up all of the dark places that exist in the world.

May it be God's will


Rabbi Robbie Weiner



Mon, July 13 2020 21 Tammuz 5780