Finding myself in the Middle East

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bad Things Happen

The headlines were horrible, unforgivable, sure, but even worse is the gossip. A man died, a family is orphaned and widowed in the worst possible way; why don’t you just cry for them? Cry for the wife; what will she do now? Cry for the children; no one can ever replace a father. Cry for the man; how horrible, horrible, unthinkable, what he must have gone through.

But you don’t. You say, after the quick lip-service you pay to the tragedy, oh, because, well, don’t you know…

No. I don’t know.

And neither do you.

I guess we feel better when we can point at something. Intangibles, the unknown, are scary for precisely that reason; they are intangible. They are unknown.

We need reasons. We need reasons so that we know that those reasons are not ours and therefore, it follows, it would never happen to me. Because I would never do what he did I am safe. I am hidden behind a wall of righteousness where death and tragedy will never ever find me.

But on the same day, a little boy who is part of my extended family was playing with his older brother. Maybe he was not getting into trouble the way he usually does, not pinching his brother or dumping out all the toys.

But that would be reason for relief, not alarm. He’s growing up, then. About time, too; that child is a handful!

Or maybe her mother’s intuition tells her that this is not growing up, that this is reason for alarm, that he is not himself. Maybe he’s getting that bug that’s been going around, she thinks. He looks a little flushed, come to think of it; a little listless. I’d better make him a doctor’s appointment. In a minute, after I finish the dishes.

Horrible things happen, and we don’t know why. We have been davening for that little boy ever since his mother finished the dishes, ever since he closed his eyes and slid to the ground. Meningitis, the doctors say, and shake their heads.

And what can you say then, huh, those of you who know why bad things happen and who they happen to? What can you say now other than join me in davening for a little boy who could be anyone’s son?

Please daven for Eliyahu B-n Zeesle Yehudis. 


Cymbaline said...

I always love what you write and the messages you send in your posts - but i think, in this case, I have to say that you are comparing apples and oranges.

A sick boy and a man who put himself in danger - they are not comparable.

JerusalemStoned said...

I guess I'm just angry and sad. And I guess I'm not comparing them, not really; I'm comparing bad things and our equal lack of understanding for all of it.

Princess Lea said...

Little people can converse about tragedy with relish, because they check their mezuzos four times a year or say Perek Shira twice a day or daven at every kever imaginable, so therefore hardship shall never touch them.

As a grandchild of survivors I am amazed how many ADULTS say things like, "Well, they talked in shul so that's why" or "They didn't have as much learning as we do now." Are you kidding me? Are you that small?

Same to by Sandy.

We are not here to understand Hashem. And that is what it means to be a Jew.

JerusalemStoned said...

Beautifully said Princess, both here and in the linked post...

Anonymous said...

How can I email you? The link on the side opens outlook which I don't have

JerusalemStoned said...

Freeda, I'm not sure why my e-mail shortcut is not working--if you post your e-mail address, I'll email you.


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