An Uncomfortable Letter, To Help You Find Comfort: Rabbi on Pittsburgh


Peace & Blessings,

As I just finished Sunday morning Hebrew school, I needed to sit down and write this.

Staring at the beautiful children braiding Challah with Aliza, learning about the first Jewish woman Sarah and her daughter-in-law Rivkah, seeing the loving parents nachas apparent in their broad smiles at their children’s Jewish experience, the concept of Jewish continuity and horrors of this past Shabbos are still seared into my Soul.

The eleven Souls that were murdered - just for being Jewish - is unfortunately nothing new.

It’s just new in America.  

If you are looking to the U.S.A. to solve the problems that have faced the Jewish people for 4,000 years, you’re looking in the wrong place. I wish I could have told my ancestors four generations ago this.

They thought through assimilation, economic opportunity, cultural success they could escape and transform the horrors of Europe here in the U.S.  Today we think through social media, voting, social awareness, politics, humanitarian causes that we can end antisemitism and change the world. We are ALLwrong.

We see this clearly from the events in Pittsburgh on Shabbos.  

The uncomfortable fact - the elephant in the room at every Synagogue board meeting, Jewish Federation, “Never Again” slogan - is that they will always hate us.  Not for being observant, not for being assimilated - just for being Jewish.

Sorry folks, no anti-gun legislation or ‘right to bear arms’, no statements or lawsuits, Bills in Congress or Executive Orders, or even interfaith dialogues or insular Jewish neighborhoods are going to save us.

This tragedy, these horrific murders of Jewish people must be a catalyst for real, meaningful and lasting change for good.

So what is the answer?

There is only one answer.  It’s found in the Passover Haggadah.

"This is what has stood by our fathers and us! For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand!"

G-d, HaShem, The One Above, Al-mighty wants us to bring Moshiach now.  

Moshiach is a real person. The redemption he brings is real.

The way to bring this change is real, too.  It’s through strengthening Torah study, through Mitzvahs as prescribed in the Torah.  Adjusting our lives - inside and out - accordingly, brings about personal, communal, and global freedom.  We are able to attain this freedom more now than ever before in our history.

Freedom that this country affords us has been the best and worst of challenges for our people. Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion. Voting is not a Mitzvah. Assimilating is not American. If your life changes so drastically by the person elected, it is you that is letting them affect you. Right, Left or Center, they’re not going to save you, your children, or the world. Nor can they irreparably harm it.

G-d is going to reveal for us Moshiach very soon - He perhaps even has, as we see in the Rebbe. Moshiach will end this bitter exile that we are experiencing inside ourselves and as it’s reflected in the horrors of exile in the world. We need to reclaim for ourselves the Jewish concept of Moshiach.  It starts with learning about it, which in turn leads to living it, which leads to experiencing Moshiach as a reality.

So practically, today - WHAT CAN I DO?

You want to do something? Do a Mitzvah from the Torah.

You want a vigil? Go to Shabbos Minyan.

You want unity? Wrap yourself in Tefillin, meditate, become centered.

You want to be informed, awareness, ‘woke’? Study Torah.

You want to ‘post’ something meaningful? Post a Mezuzah on your door.

You want to change your profile image? Change your inner profile and show the world the image of an observant Jew.

You want a leader to change things? Moshiach Now!

This is the Jewish way to combat darkness - to spread light!  The light that has been given to us by G-d Al-mighty.

Blessings & Success, 

Rabbi Chanan Krivisky