Did you know that in Jewish Tradition, when we approach someone who is in mourning, we are not supposed to say anything? We are supposed to let that person speak first. I find that when we are uncomfortable, we fill up the space or the room with words that distract us rather than letting us feel what we must feel.
That is how I feel today. Words cannot truly express the gravity of the losses or the disbelief that I have that such actions could be committed by human beings. It is beyond my understanding how people can be so cruel. And while no words seem to suffice, it is all we have.
Actually, it isn’t really true. We have more than words. I think our tradition tells us to bring comfort to someone who is mourning with our presence, not necessarily our words. It is the act of showing up that brings healing. “Being there” is a very powerful action. So perhaps, we need to “be there” today.
“Out of the depths I called You, O God. Adonai, listen to my cry; let your ears be attentive to my plea for mercy.” (Psalm 130)
While we remember those who died and this terrible crime, it is the Holy One of Blessing/HaKadosh Baruch Hu who is present for us. It is my greatest hope that our discovery of God’s Presence in our lives can lead us to “be there” for others. It is our acts of tzedakah, our acts of chesed (kindness), our ability to imbue such tremendous losses with meaning that will make the memories of those who died be an enduring blessing. It is a day like today that remind me to be a pursuer of peace, not just someone who wishes that it will come.
So maybe… say a prayer. Express some gratitude. Hug our nearest and dearest. Make an act of tzedakah as an offering to show that our lives have purpose. With that, God’s blessings will be upon us, upon those who died, upon those who ran towards the Towers rather than away, upon those who brought a plane down rather than being passive, and upon a great and wonderful country…May God continue to bless the United States of America.