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All we can do is hug our children a little tighter.

on Friday, July 15 2011. Posted by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg
The tragic murder of Leiby Kletzky has left all of us filled with questions, doubt and intense grief and sadness. A beautiful, innocent, sweet 8 year old boy was abducted and gruesomely murdered. As the facts emerge, too graphic and horrific to mention in this public space, I can’t comprehend how the Kletzkys, Leiby’s parents, 5 sisters and extended family are coping.

 

There are no silver linings to episodes like this. There are no positives to take, no messages to derive. We simply bow our heads in submission that we can’t understand and we can’t comprehend. We are finite, limited and incapable of grasping how the infinite God runs His world. The age old question of “Why do bad things happen to good people” rears its ugly head and the impact of its punch to our gut is as strong as ever, knocking the very breath out of us.

All we can do is hug our children a little tighter. We must shower greater affection upon them, take better care of them and recommit to do whatever is necessary to protect them and secure their wellbeing.

While the majority of focus and attention are correctly being placed on Leiby and the profound pain of his loss, I personally can’t stop thinking of the tragedy of Levi, his evil murderer as well. How could a person become so deranged, so disturbed and so wicked in his judgement and behavior? How could a person forfeit and expel their tzelem Elokim, their Godly spirit, to such an extent that they could perpetrate such an atrocity?

The gemara tells us that the Jewish people are distinguished as rachamanim, bnei rachamanim, compassionate, kind and generous of spirit and deed. We were all overwhelmed by the discovery of Leiby’s death but who was not devastated by the news that the perpetrator was a so called observant Jew, a member of our family, one of our own?

An innocent life has been taken and I would submit that the identity of the perpetrator has taken our communities sense of innocence that ‘our family’ is incapable of this. We must remain vigilant and scrupulous protecting our children from the evil people that threaten them both from without and tragically, from within.

In contrast to the pain of Leiby’s passing, our community is excited to celebrate a few joyous occasions this week. In Israel, my family and I had the privilege of sharing in the joy of Yaakov Shmuley Kaskel’s bar mitzvah at the Kotel this week. We are also celebrating the bar mitzva’s of Yoni Peritzman and Ben Amsalem at BRS this Shabbos. Seeing them daven, layn, and grow so beautifully strengthens our faith in the Jewish future and the bright young men who will fill it.

Shabbat Shalom from the Holy Land

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