Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Yesterday I spoke with Rabbanit Chana Henkin in a ZOOM meeting with 300 people from across North America. This event was planned long before the catastrophe in Meron. In the course of the evening, she articulated several thoughts that I think are important for all of us, here and now:
• "We speak a lot about Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. His rabbi, Rabbi Akiva, lost 24,000 students. What did he do? He began anew, with five students. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was one of them. Rabbi Akiva teaches us to get back up no matter what has happened – and to continue onward. We're Jews, we never give up".
• "After my son, Rabbi Eitam, was murdered with his wife in a terrorist attack, I told my students that no one promised me that God is an ATM machine. You don't press certain buttons and then get what you want. Life is not about getting what we want, but about doing what Hashem asks of us. And we need always to look at the gifts that remain. In our case, our four grandchildren, who survived the attack".
• "There is another thought that gives me strength. A rabbi at Nishmat once asked a class of students: How many books are in the Tanach (Bible)? Everyone immediately answered: 24. The rabbi said: Wrong. And he explained: You are correct. But actually there are 25. At this very moment, the Holy One blessed be He continues to write the story of the nation of Israel as He fulfills His ancient prophecies. We in Israel today, and everyone who is part of the story of the rebirth of our country, is part of this 25th book of the Bible. This is a source of strength".