As a nation we find ourselves moving from shock and horror to grief and mourning. Yet, the heart-break remains as the individual stories of the victims of this weekend’s violence begin to surface and they are laid to rest. As our nation mourns, we can’t help but contrast the victims’ humanity with the baseless hatred that caused their deaths. We keep the loved ones of those who lost their lives in our prayers, and we ask God to heal the wounded. We also pray for those who were not physically injured, but who experienced the trauma, who saw the bloodshed, who feared for their lives. May God bring them strength and healing as well.
As Jews we understand that baseless hatred is not new to our world. Jewish tradition acknowledges sinat chinam, baseless hatred, as the reason for the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and 70 CE. In our sorrow over recent events, we acknowledge that, for some, this is a sorrowful time in the Hebrew calendar as well. As we approach the observance of Tisha B’Av at the end of this week’s Shabbat, may we also look to a time when there will be less hate and less pain. Until then we must be strong; we must make our voices heard. We must denounce those who spew sinat chinam, baseless hatred, and we must continue our efforts to make those who are charged with writing our laws understand that they must act to keep us and our children safe.
Ken y’hi ratzon,
Rabbi Sandra M. Bellush