Yesterday’s horrifying events at a Jerusalem Yeshivah — where 8 students were murdered in cold blood and scores injured — brought to mind a similar, no less dreadful event, nearly 52 years ago.
The state of Israel was in its infancy, and the village of Kefar Chabad was also in its early stages of development. In a school created for immigrant and refugee children, a class was beginning Maariv, the evening prayer. Suddenly a group of terrorists burst though the door and began spraying bullets at the room’s occupants. Five students and a teacher died that night, their prayer books soaked in their own blood.
Understandably, residents of the village were shell shocked. Unsure of how to proceed, they turned to the Lubavitcher Rebbe for guidance, and four days following the horrors a telegram arrived from New York. The entire village gathered in the synagogue to hear the Rebbe’s encouraging words.
The telegram contained a three word sentence: “Behemshech Habinyan Tinacheimu” (“by continuing to build, you will be comforted”). The Rebbe’s message was clear; the attack should not lead to decreased activity in the development of Kefar Chabad. Rather it should be the impetus for continued growth.
Quite by Divine Providence, my earlier post focused on the persevering quality of the Jewish people; on how, despite all that occurs, Jerusalem and the entire Land of Israel is continuously being developed and built.
Given yesterday’s attack on innocent Yeshivah students, I will take that notion one step further.
"Building" and "construction" can also be used to describe one's spiritual growth. When we do a Mitzvah, we strengthen our connection with G-d, and we build our relationship with Him. The more we do, the stronger the bond.
The Jewish response to yesterday’s attack should be one of growth. Performing a Mitzvah in memory of the deceased, praying in honor of the wounded, and generally going about our lives the way G-d expects us to, is how we show the world that we will not be negatively affected by violence. With every additional good deed we perform, the more evident this becomes.
We answer darkness with light; and the more light we bring to the world, the less darkness there will be to impede our growth. And by continuously growing, we will truly be comforted.