By Yonatan Gordon
You can’t get escape darkness by feeding it to us until we vomit it out.
Yes we need to know that precious lives were lost today. And yes there are names that we still need to pray for, because those that left this world with tallit and tefillin on are already praying for us. Praying that their fellow worshippers should recover immediately and that God should send the Redemption already.
But to show us the graphic pictures. To publicize and share the graphic details leads down the path to nowhere.
These souls that were murdered al kiddush Hashem, for the sanctification of God’s Name, are not the sum of details of how they left this world. So stop showing us how dark and ugly the world appears in the hopes that this will somehow inspire us to purge this darkness from our system.
As explained last time, it would be better to spend time in prayer, increase our Torah study and mitzvot observance, and gather together around a cause whose vision doesn’t end with which knesset party you happen to support this year.
I am a member of the Derech Chaim movement because they have a vision bigger than anything else I’ve seen. And while there is still much to do, over the years their vision has come down into strategically organized rallies, tens of thousands of flyers and bumper stickers, and the call to hire Jewish labor (with a website and hotline that connects Jewish businesses with available workers).
But the initial reaction of many is to show us all these truly graphic and gut wrenching photos. And for what? To leave me and others shaken and barely able to get through the day? Therefore, unable to do anything else, I decided to write this in the hopes that someone is listening.
So to repeat…
The desire to fill our screens and Facebook feeds with manifestations of the darkness that took place today comes from a good motivation. The hope again is that somehow if we are fed enough of this, we will all collectively vomit it up and real change will result. But the honest-to-God truth is that it leaves the majority shaken and jarred without a clear course of action.
So the politicians come out with their statements. The half-hearted condemnations. But we know this is not either the change that we hope for.
In the language of how I explained it last time, today was a day of great submission. We all feel low and troubled. But the way to move forward as a people, as the Jewish people, is not to make sure that we really do feel low, but rather to instill hope and optimism. Something that we can all rally behind. Although today we may feel like a speck of dust or sand, tomorrow we hope that one pearl will result.
People who learn Chassidut know that better than attempting to bat darkness off with a stick is the motivation to spread more light. And while this statement may seem too idealistic at first, like the Derech Chaim movement which started with a few members but now has around 2,000, this idealism eventually comes down.
But sharing graphic images and depictions is the opposite. There is no vision there. No resolution. The only resolution is as explained last time, to explain how the future looks like according to Torah. And then to collectively work with all our might to make that future vision a reality today.