As I write this, in San Diego, a funeral is taking place for Lori Gilbert Kaye OBM, who was murdered by a 19-year-old at a Chabad during Passover services. You know of this event, and others like it. When such things happen, we might experience many emotions: sadness, fear, shock, anger, numbness. But we have one job before anything else. We must feel the immediacy of the event, we must overcome its seeming distance, we must know that it is our own family that has been affected.
It is natural to protect ourselves from the pain of the world through abstraction. It is easy to put up layers of armor against the assault on our sense of safety, and our moral sensibility, through distance. But Torah calls us to oppose that distancing. It calls us instead to closeness.Read More