A few days ago, the 4 month old baby of the Chabad representatives in St. Thomas fell into the water and passed away. Mrs. Henya Federman – the mother jumped into the water to save her baby and got stuck. She is currently in critical condition and we pray for her immediate recovery. You can say a prayer as well by saying any chapter of psalms here. Her name is: Henya bas Brocha Devorah Leah.
While we can discuss why G-d allows such things – this is the subject of my fathers book “Why G-d Why”- when tragedy strikes we need to ask what are we going to do.
I learned this last night when many people joined a Hakhel, a gathering, to pray, study and give charity and positive vibes for Henya’s immediate recovery.
The story is told that in 1974 shortly after the Yom Kippur War Rabbi Yisrael Lau (later to be Chief Rabbi of Israel) came to Brooklyn to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe OB”M. During their conversation the Rebbe asked him what the sentiment is in Israel. Rabbi Lau replied that Jews were asking “what will be?” The Rebbe grabbed him by his arm and said: “Jews don’t ask what will be, they ask what they are going to do.”
In this week’s Parsha the torah tells us about the birth of some of the tribes and the reasons for their names. One of them is named Yehuda – which translates as “thanks” and “admitting” which is a result of utter devotion to G-d and recognition that everything we have is the result of his magnanimous generosity. However, when we approach a challenge with this viewpoint we don’t say “oy vey, what will be”, but “what can I do to repair my relationship with G-d and make the world a better place”.
Have a great Shabbos and may we have only good news to report!
Rabbi Mendel Schusterman
Thanks to my brother, Rabbi Nechemia Schusterman, of Chabad Peabody, MA for sharing the above thought.