“Growing up in Squirrel Hill was the best! Squirrel Hill is and always has been a very tight knit Jewish and secular community where acceptance and tolerance was never an issue. It breaks my heart to know that this despicable act of violence took place not only in my hometown of Pittsburgh but in my childhood synagogue. I pray for the city of Pittsburgh and all of the innocent victims who were at Tree of Life Synagogue this morning.” Debbie Mann-Barkoff (Former resident of Pittsburgh living in Florida)
The above quote is from my best friend in Florida, Debbie Mann-Barkoff. Naturally, she is the first person I thought of when I heard about this unimaginable act of hate against Jewish citizens.
The following words from the Ari’s ‘Tree of Life’ is in memory of the victims and their families. It is also a prayer for the entire community of Pittsburgh that will need much time to heal and recover from this devastating tragedy:
Behold that before the emanations were emanated and the creatures were created,
The Upper Simple Light had filled the whole existence.
And there was no vacancy, such as an empty air, a hollow,
But all was filled with that Simple, Boundless Light.
And there was no such part as head, or end,
But everything was One, Simple Light, balanced evenly and equally,
And it was called “the Light of Ein Sof (Infinity).”
And when upon His simple will, came the desire to create the worlds and emanate the emanations,
To bring to light the perfection of His deeds, His names, His appellations,
Which was the cause of the creation of the worlds,
Then the Ein Sof restricted Himself, in His middle point, precisely at the center,
And He restricted that Light, and drew far off to the sides around that middle point.
And there remained an empty space, an empty air, a vacuum
Precisely from the middle point.
And that restriction was equally around that empty, middle point,
So that the space was evenly circled around it.
And after the restriction, when the vacant space remained empty
Precisely in the middle of the Light of Ein Sof,
A place was formed, where the Emanations, Creations, Formations, and Actions might reside.
Then from the Light of Ein Sof, a single line hung down from Above, lowered into that space.
And through that line, He emanated, created, formed, and made all the worlds.
Prior to these four worlds, there was one Light of Ein Sof, whose Name is One, in wondrous, hidden unity,
And even in the angels closest to Him
There is no force and no attainment in The Ein Sof,
As there is no mind of a created that could attain Him,
For He has no place, no boundary, no name.
The ARI, Tree of Life, Gate 1
With municipal elections coming up in a couple of days, the people of Israel are more divided than normal, with all the various factions airing their grievances very openly.
Rather than fulfilling its role to be a Light unto the Nations, this growing rift inside of Israel radiates to the rest of the world in a negative manner.
All Jews everywhere in the world must take this unspeakable hate crime as a wake up call that we must repair the rifts among our people sooner rather than later.
The great sages such as the ARI have been explaining for many years the special role of the Jews to help the world learn how to exist in a better way. Above the existing division and separation, we can learn to develop in a far more pleasant manner.
We need to understand that there are forces that govern our development as a society and species, and how learning to use them correctly is the key to controlling our destiny. It’s incredible that we have come so far in so many fields, but when it comes to dealing with humanity itself, we are still facing the same issues that have been plaguing our society for millennia.
However unclear the way may be, the only solution to anti-Semitism is for the Jews to bring the light of unity to the world by establishing a role model society, and sharing its principles with the world. They will not be able to avoid this mission by assimilating. Unlike Abraham’s time, or Moses’ time, the world is ready to hear why things are not working out. The Jews must introduce once more the method for uniting above differences. Indeed, the key is the word, “above.” The Jews did not suppress their differences, but used them to the benefit of the whole of society.
Today the Jews must teach themselves once more how to conduct themselves this way, and thereby become a role model society. Indeed, the best way to achieve unity above differences is by focusing not on uniting the Jews, but on building an example of unity for the world, so that the world can unite. The world will not tolerate the Jews as long as they do not unite among themselves, because only then the rest of the world will be able to learn and implement the way.
If the Jews unite in order to help the world, not in order to help themselves, they will be viewed favorably by all the nations, without exception. In the words of the book, Sefat Emet [True Language], “The children of Israel became guarantors to correct the entire world … everything depends on the children of Israel. To the extent that they correct themselves [and become united], all creations follow them. As the students follow the teacher, the whole of creation follows the children of Israel.” If Jews bring unity to the world by uniting among them and setting an example, they will never have to ask, “Why do people hate Jews?”
Originally published at blogs.timesofisrael.com