Acharei: A Time To Run! A Time To Hide! A Time To Confront!
“There is a time for silence and a time to speak” (King Solomon). Innocent men, women and children gunned down as they pray to G-d in a House of Worship! 21st century, USA. A new reality? Heaven forbid! On the last day of Passover when we celebrate freedom! How could this be happening? On the very day and moment when the words of the Prophets, assuring the Jewish people of Messianic times, were being recounted in that very Synagogue! As reports of the attack quickly reverberated around the globe, it was those images of Rabbi Yisrael Goldstein and his defiant message that profoundly captured the worlds imagination. His expression, was a mix of shock, horror and grief, yet his message was that of pure faith, hope and defiance. There is a time to speak. There is a time to act. Now must be the time to act! The Community Security Service in the USA provides a training
program for responding to such attacks called the "run, hide or fight" approach. If (G-d forbid) a shooter were to enter the building, one’s first response should be to run. If that was not possible, than try to hide. If that was also not an option, then one should try and engage the attacker. The Jewish people have been “running” for thousands of years. For how many more generations must we continue to run? Where do we go from here? Is running away from a problem ever the solution? What about hiding? Jews have tried to hide since we became a people. Is this approach, the solution? What effect does this have on our individual or collective self-esteem? How does this impact our enemies? Do we evoke in them more respect as a result or do they become emboldened by our show of weakness. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose fearless leadership continues to reverberate globally, declared to our generation that the time for “running” is over. Now is the time to confront and overcome. Last Saturday as a man filled with hate towards Jews entered the Chabad of Poway, intending to carry out a massacre, he was eventually confronted by many courageous heroes. One of those was a US combat veteran called Oscar Stewart. When the killer saw Mr Stewart barreling toward him, yelling with all his might, he froze, dropped his gun and ran outside the Synagogue. Oscar Stewart’s heroic act must be the call to action for Jewish people around the world. No more is it a time for Jews to run. Nor is it a time to hide. The time now is a time to confront. We do this by by being proud of our history and heritage. By adhering to our timeless traditions, imbued with a deep sense of privilege and responsibility. We do this by fully recognising that our historic mission to be a “light unto the nations” can only be achieved by influencing its destiny. We do so by teaching the world a Divinely inspired universal moral code. And yes, we do all of this with the same “audacity” employed by those who seek to destroy us. If we all do so, we will no doubt overcome this force of hate. For the power of love, like light, is infinitely greater then that of hate.