Friday, 27 May, 2022 - 8:21 am

I wish I never heard of Uvalde. That’s the way it was a week ago.

Tragically, we have all heard of the horrific attack on teachers and schoolchildren at Robb Elementary School.

Our hearts go out to the families that have suffered unthinkable losses this week.

As they seek peace in their anguish and sorrow, let us share with them that their loss is our loss.

And, let us pledge to do our utmost that this never occur again. Protecting our most innocent and vulnerable must be our highest priority.

One of the refrains we hear often about these pure souls that have been mercilessly taken from their families is that they are now in a good place, in a spiritual space with G-d.

I hope that gives the families some comfort.

But, I hope it gives us no solace and no rest.

It’s not that we Jews don’t believe in an afterlife. We do.

Rather, it’s because we believe that the key focus of our lives needs to be perfecting this world, not aspiring to the next world.

As an example, in this week’s Torah portion, Bechukotai, we are told that if we follow in Hashem’s ways we will be blessed with material benefit. If we stray, life will be very difficult.

Far be it from me to judge as to whether someone is deserving reward or punishment. I’ll leave that to G-d.

But, the more fundamental question is why does the Torah promise physical reward rather than spiritual reward?

One answer is that G-d wishes us to be world-centric and not Heaven-centric. In other words, G-d prefers that we bring Heaven down to earth rather than escape earth to get to Heaven.

The focus of Torah is to make this world a better, holier place. Every mitzvah we do impacts the world in a holy fashion.

If we want to truly pay tribute to the lives lost, let’s live our lives in a more sacred fashion, in a way that prevents such scenarios in the first place.

And, let’s pray that we merit the promise from this week’s parsha, “"I will grant peace in the Land, and you will lie down with no one to frighten you."


Comments on: Earth-Centric

Asher Abrams wrote...

Thank you, Rabbi, for these inspiring words.