Gary Spund, an Israeli businessman, was scheduled to be in the Mumbai Chabad House on Nov. 26, 2008, the night it was attacked as part of a massive terrorist assault that murdered 164 people. At the last minute, his airline called and told him that his flight to China had been moved up to the night before.
Spund cheated death.
His thoughts in full may be followed on page 16. What they come down to is, as he put it, “Am I living up to it?”
Or, as he also puts it, what did G-d have in mind when his flight to China was changed?
It is a question all of us ought to ask. Are the actions and intentions of our lives worthy of our having been spared? Indeed, all of us reading this have been spared. From Mumbai to Pittsburgh, from the genocide of the Yazidis in Iraq to the genocide of the Rohinga in Myanmar, all of us live in a time of constant danger. All of us may say, “there but for the grace of G-d go I.” All of us should be not only grateful for our safety but asking ourselves: Do our lives justify the fact that we are here, while others, who may have seemed more worthy, are not?
Spund, allowed into the Mumbai Chabad House days after the attack, noticed that a single bullet hole pierced the Torah scroll, right after in the Torah portion titled “After the death.” We are all living “after the death” — after the death of the students in Littleton, of the churchgoers in Charleston, of the crowds in London and Paris, of the shoppers in Baghdad and Kabul, of the pizza eaters in Jerusalem, of the bus riders throughout Israel, of the mothers and children in Syria, of the plane passengers in NYC, DC and Somerset Country, Pennsylvania, of the synagogue-goers in Pittsburgh. Are we living up to it?
“I don’t think Iever want to go back to India,” Spund said. Fair enough. But with or without the physical reminders of evil, none of us can escape the mission that our lives have become. Are we living up to it?
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