Watching the horror in that holy alley of death and hearing the harrowing details of how it happened – there is a glaring lesson for ME, and I’m sharing in case you relate to it too…
There is no way we can understand and know why this tragedy happened – we have no nevuah – but we do know that the BIGGEST thing Hashem cares about is that we love, give kavod, and are just with each other.
The 45 kedoshim and the many injured were killed and hurt by other people unintentionally R”L – they were pushed and stepped over by people who had no choice to do otherwise; the pressure from the mob of people above was so unrelenting and so forceful, so impossibly dense, there was nowhere to go and nothing to do.
So too are we all in our own holy alleys – each in our own communities, OUR chasidus, OUR kehilas, OUR shitahs, OUR levushas, OUR rights, OUR wrongs, OUR schools and yeshiva systems, OUR truths. They are all very holy, but when it becomes narrow and exclusive – we are the right ones, the better ones, the true ones, it becomes a holy alley of death. People are killed, injured and trampled over, people are *othered* and categorized. We can’t even listen to another idea or explore the validity of ours – because I was born into here and you were born into there. This makes me right and you wrong, but if it were the other way around, I would’ve held your position, and you would’ve held mine automatically.
And you know what? Those who hurt other people in our “narrow alleys” do so purely unintentionally. It’s the intense pressure from above that defaults them into it, it’s the mob of people, the society, the schooling, the conditioning, the intense pressure to conform, to belong to shine that makes us trample and judge one another. And it’s also generational messages, intense pressure from generations in galus which locked us into a mindset that is so hard to extricate ourselves from.
The mob pushing us from above had and has no intention of hurting another human being let alone a brother. They are just walking into the pathway that seems fit to walk at that moment, not realizing the effects that it will have down the road, way past their line of vision. So many beliefs and ideas and divides and identities were maybe once put in place with good reason or good intention, but the effect of it is killing and hurting other people every day.
And as we see clearly in the Torah and our history – HASHEM HATES IT!
So here’s is my takeaway:
1. I will do everything I can to work on myself to extricate myself from the mob, connect to the Torah and the voice of Hashem and treat EVERY Jew and every human as a tzelem Elokim, the way Hashem wired us to do.
2. When I see other people trampling over others, I will try to do everything in my capacity to save that person.
3. I will remember that the person trampling and hurting is very possibly pushed by the mob. I can show light and love and daven that they find a way out.
4. I have strong opinions and values, and I would like to believe that I love every Jew. But my work is kavod, to step away and let the person next to me stand up straight, give her the space to breath and exist fully in her mindsets, in her opinions – let her evolve at her own pace – to listen intently and not invade her space with judgment, even if it only happens in my mind. So that she can walk her own way and evolve and learn whatever her unique journey teaches her.
5. To not trample over my self, to treat myself with love and respect, because that’s where it all starts.
Please Hashem let these lessons sink in and stay with me forever.