Monday, August 3, 2020 -
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Within tragedy, light

It seems unbelievable. Just two weeks ago, two Rocky Mountain Jew entries ago, we reflected on Kristallnacht, on evil, on destruction. And on the importance of remembrance.

But, once again, evil has struck. This time in the form of a coordinated terrorist attack in Mumbai, targeting 10 locations, taking the lives of close to 200 people, including those of Chabad’s Jewish center in India’s financial capital.

We truly cannot fathom such evil, such wanton destruction, such disregard from human life. However, as inappropriate as it may sound, there is always something positive to take from every event, and in this case, it’s the beauty and inspiration of the Chabad movement.

Despite the upheaval our safe Western lives have undergone in the last ten years, (and yes, it is bound to get worse), we are still sheltered and spoiled, needing for very little. We reflect on history, on revolutions, on pioneers, on how individuals used to take chances. Really risk their lives for something better or a greater purpose.

This is what Chabad emissaries do, today, in the here and now.

At Sunday’s memorial service for the Holtzberg family, held at BMH-BJ, both Chabad rabbis and other speakers praised the dedication of Chabad to the Jewish community. Their willingness to go anywhere in the world where Jews live, no matter how remote, or no matter how dangerous. And from our experience with Chabad, this dedication is born of a sincere love for the Jewish people, Ahavat Yisrael, a concept that many times receives lip service, but rarely acted upon.

One of the most inspiring moments of the memorial service was Rabbi Yisroel Engel of Chabad of Colorado recounting that not only were services held this past Shabbat in Mumbai, but how some Chabad couples have already offered to take up the post left vacant by this horrific murder.

This kind of selflessness and sacrifice is so rare.

It’s an incredible lesson, that in the depth of their tragedy, Chabad speaks of positivity and a love for humanity. While evil was of course mentioned, there was no rant against terrorism and fundamentalism – though one could argue that it certainly wouldn’t be out of place. No, instead Chabad focuses on how to rebuild, on “doubling efforts,” in Rabbi Engel’s words, on continuing to spread their message of love.

It’s a magnificient example to emulate.

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