“One would think that I feel a deeper sense of despair over this latest murderous attack against Jewish civilians – which struck just a few minutes’ walk from home.
Yet I do not feel despair. I am certainly not numb to their hatred, nor naïve to our complicated and fragile existence. Yes, today my heart has sunk, and tears are falling. But I do not despair.
Today, I am exactly where I need to be: in the Land the Almighty promised to our forefathers, the Land of Israel. Since I arrived here 13 years ago, one thing has become very clear: Terrorists may not tell me that the Promised Land is theirs to barbarically rule over.
My husband, kids and I pray on a daily basis that each of us merit Divine protection. And this morning, the moment we heard about the attack, I reached for my Book of Psalms, and gave my kids paper and crayons to draw pictures or write how they are feeling. My sweet elementary school-aged kids were trying their best to stay calm and be brave in the face of this shocking turn of events; they quietly and enthusiastically drew and wrote. My eldest wrote a personal letter to the Almighty, which she put into an envelope and sealed, capturing her deepest thoughts forever.
Yet as unspeakably horrible as this event is, as devastated as I feel for my neighbors, and as outraged as my neighbors and I feel about this callously brutal attack, I do not despair. The Torah that the Almighty gave us promises the Land of Israel to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
It is our birthright to live here, and through a seemingly inexplicable progression of historical events, I am now privileged to live here.
The story does not start or end here today. These inhumane acts are bloodied splotches along a long and difficult continuum of Jewish suffering.
So rather than despair, I know this is a message for. I need to act. I need to strengthen my Torah learning, strengthen my Mitzvah observance – maybe choose specific Mitzvah and perfect my observance of it – and of course pray to Our Father in Heaven with better focus.
And I hope that in some way, my actions are a merit for the Jewish people, hastening the Final Redemption.”
By Ayalah Haas