Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I have to write something....

"You have to write something," a voice inside keeps repeating. 
"But I don't know what to write." Another voice answers back. "And I fear words aren't enough."
I've read so many other more prolific and articulate words. 
I tell myself, "Don't bother, you don't have anything important to add." 
And then another voice becomes adamant, "You can't stay silent!! Someone, somewhere will learn or be inspired or hear...And besides, Yom Kippur is tonight. Life is too short."

So, I am forcing myself to sit down and write, as my chicken roasts in the oven, and my turkey soup bubbles on the stove.

I want to say I'm so sad.

And so shocked.
And so angry.
And so disillusioned.
And so inspired.
And so sad.

The 45-year-old man, father, son, brother, and friend who was murdered on Sunday, for being a Jew (and it seems an English speaking Jew), was my next-door neighbor's brother. On one hand it feels really close. The entire Fuld family has been coming to Chashmonaim and staying at my neighbor, Moshe's house, twice a year for the past 12 years.

But really, it doesn't matter. Ari Fuld was a innocent human being. It doesn't matter whether I knew him or not. 

He was at the shopping mall, sent on errands for his wife. He was on the phone, as many of us are many times a day, when the terrorist came up behind him and stabbed him. He was targeted because he was a Jew. (And again, it seems from reports on the scene, that the sick, dagger wielding animal was looking for an English-speaking Jew.) He was a man going about his day.

All the rest of the details are not what I want to focus on here.

Tonight is Yom Kippur. The important day on the Jewish holiday calendar where I look at myself and ask, "What have I done this year to hurt another, to disregard or disrespect, to embarrass or shame another? What have I said or done without consciousness? What have I done to diminish my relationship with G-d?"

I have a responsibility to answer for myself, my words, and my actions. I want others to call me out when I have said or done something hurtful, or have overstepped my boundaries. But ultimately, I am responsible for myself.

Life is so so so so so (did I say, so?) precarious. So precious. So short. Every day is a blessing if I wake up in it. I don't have the energy anymore to spend my time on people or things that I have no control over. Although I do feel that I have responsibility when I can make a difference, to be silent when I have something to say is undermining my power.

What I want to share following Ari Fuld's murder is the main message I take from this tragic loss. And that is that the small stuff just doesn't matter. I can control my reactions and what I tell myself. And I can only make a difference first to myself and then to my family. And then, if I have energy leftover, I can make a difference out side of my house. 

We cannot fight for a nation unless we are fighting for ourselves.

This has been a conceptual understanding for many years. A message that I believed in, but didn't know exactly how to follow. I understand now.

The loss of life, whether awaited or sudden, makes me look at my mortality and really take in the message that life is too short.

My blessing to myself and anyone who has read this far, is that we take the time to set our priorities and values. Make them clear, and then live our lives based on these choices.

My nephew posted this a couple weeks ago that I will leave here:






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