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Parashat Behar & Bechukotai – How to Respond to a Tragedy?


We are all deeply shaken by the horrific tragedy in Meron. People everywhere are crying, beseeching G-d for some measure of comfort and consolation.

But how do we respond to such a tragedy?  

The Parsha Shemini tells us about the devastating story of Aaron’s two sons dying in the Mishkan. What should have been a joyous time celebrating the completion of God’s House turned instead into a very public and likely humiliating moment of grief for Aaron and his family.

Just imagine the scene: this is the biggest moment in Aaron’s life! As the High Priest, he is the highest-ranking human being in the sanctuary of God. So, how did Aaron react to this tragedy? And how would you react to this tragedy?

Aaron was silent.

The question then is what is the meaning of his silence?

As Jews, we understand that some experiences in life transcend our comprehension. As such, silence is in itself a sign of humility, of acceptance of our destiny, of knowing that we are in the presence of something that is beyond us, that we are taking part in a story that is much larger than any of us.

Likewise, the events of Lag Baomer in Meron are certainly above our understanding. We cannot explain the pain, we can only silently accept it.

And just like Aharon, we stand in silence!

May G-d give strength to the grieving families. You are all in our silent thoughts and prayers.

~Rabbi Mendy