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Two consecutive Torah portions, two radically different outlooks on life

כותרת הפיגוע בקרית ארבע מהעיתון

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Tonight I received two kinds of WhatsApp messages: Some were full of hopeful expectations and others were marked by tragedy. The hopeful messages began with updates concerning the "Be'Sha'a Tova" project. In the context of this project, be'sha'a tova (literally, at a good hour) has a double meaning. Be'sha'a tova speaks to the fact that tonight in Israel, in the transition to winter time, we turn the clocks back one hour, so we have a gift of sixty full minutes of extra time, an opportunity to spend a spare hour doing good. But these words also pertain to the specific purpose of this project, which is to devote this extra hour to the single men and women we know, devising ways to help them connect, with the ultimate goal being to wish them "be'sha'a tova" (colloquially, good luck) when they become engaged. Last year, more than twenty thousand people participated in this project, resulting in many weddings. Tonight, tens of thousands participated, working without letup, in a variety of groups, forums, and other settings.

But then I also received heartbreaking messages regarding the terror attack in Kiryat Arba on a father and his son, with the tragic result that one person was killed and four others were wounded.

I thought about the contradictory nature of these reports; it was so bizarre the way they came simultaneously. On the one hand, there was murder, terror, violence, a desire to end life. On the other, there was simple kindness, concern for others, a desire to create families and to increase life.

We are exactly in between parashat Noach and parashat Lecha Lecha. In parashat Noach we read about a world given over to violence and devoid of hope. "Now the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." In parashat Lech Lecha, Avraham Avinu and Sara Imeinu ascend on the world stage and teach us to do righteousness and justice, to illuminate the darkness, to bring a blessing to the world. The battle between these two outlooks on life -- and ways of living -- continues until today.

The above is dedicated to the ascent of the soul of the victim, and to the speedy and complete recovery of the wounded.


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