The Jewish community awoke Tuesday morning to the news of another heartbreaking tragedy. Two precious souls were killed in a devastating car accident and two others were hurt.
Word of the tragedy plunged the entire community into mourning. Total strangers joined extended family members, friends, classmates and workmates in grieving the loss of two young bnos Yisrael — both beloved teachers — who had earned the admiration and respect of their students and all those with whom they came in contact.
There are no words with which we can console shattered parents and siblings. All that can be said is Hamakom yenachem eschem, for only Hashem can give them consolation.
As Torah Jews we have an obligation and a responsibility to exhibit the highest levels of sensitivity towards the niftaros and their families — even in an age of instantaneous communication and social media. Along with the outpouring of grief, there were some disturbing instances of a failure to respect the privacy of the victims and their families. While we may live in an era where images have taken the place of words, sending or posting numerous pictures of the niftaros and their friends within hours of the tragedy demonstrates a total lack of derech eretz and sensitivity. As a community and as individuals, we must take concrete steps to bring such conduct to an end.
As we previously noted, when learning of a tragedy of any sort, there is a natural inclination to make inquiries as to precisely what occurred, where it happened, and how it happened. Often these questions are driven by a fear of this happening to us, and by the subconscious desire to use this detailed information to distance our own circumstances from those of the victims, and to comfort ourselves with the thought that this couldn’t happen to us.
But as Torah Jews, we must seek to quell this inclination with the realization that this is about all of us.
The primary reaction to this communal tragedy must be spiritual introspection. This is a time for each of us to make a cheshbon hanefesh, to look deep within the recesses of our own hearts and seek the way to return to Hashem.
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