In 1974, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who at the time was the chief Rabbi of North Tel Aviv, journeyed to New York to visit the late Lubavitcher Rebbe to seek advice.
During their conversation, the Rebbe asked Rabbi Lau about the mood in Israel. It was a difficult time as Israeli citizens were just beginning to recover from the 1973 Yom Kippur war. It had been a devastating war in which close to 3,000 Israelis were killed and over 9,000 wounded.
Rabbi Lau responded that people are asking, “What will be?”
The Rebbe was reluctant to hear these words. Instead, he took hold of Rabbi Lau’s arm and noted that this is not the question to be asked. Instead, we should ask, “What are we going to do?”
I believe that this is the question for all of us. Instead of cowering in fear and becoming overwhelmed by the daily news, the question we must ask ourselves is “What are we going to do?” It is during these difficult times that we step up to the plate and become true leaders and difference-makers. Now is the time to rise to the challenge and march forward, looking for ways to perform deeds of goodness and kindness to help humankind.
God willing, life will return to “normal” soon. However, we will always face challenges and moments of despair. Our actions are more powerful than tears of sadness, and acts of kindness are stronger than feelings of despair. The light we generate as individuals is much stronger than any type of darkness we may face.
As we break the matzah during our Passover Seder, let us pray to be whole again. May you and your families be blessed with a Chag Kasher v’Sameyach, a Happy, Healthy and Meaningful Passover. Next year, may we celebrate Passover in person, physically connected to those we love.
Rabbi Glusman is the visiting rabbi at Shearith Israel Synagogue, Columbus, GA, and Director of Engagement at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.