Mumbai, Monday and Mitzvah

December 9, 2008 § 2 Comments

candle  Monday, in Austin, I attended a memorial service for those lost at the Chabad House in Mumbai. It’s a struggle, when faced with grief and terror, to decide where to focus: do we choose fear, anger, resignation, vengeance?

For the Jewish community, the choice was none of the above. Although a strong political thread wove its way through the service, it was not the cord – the cord was light. The response to the tragedy (and those in attendance honored not only Jews, but all who were killed and wounded) was to look at how we can rebuilt and survive by doing more.  Doing more good.

In Judaism, mitzvah has dual meaning: it’s a commandment of the Law and a good or worthy deed. Jews are commanded to do good, to follow religious law by bringing light into the world.

We lit candles, prayed, heard from someone who had lived in Mumbai and known the Rabbi and his wife. That was good.

But  Judaism is not about words. Before we left, there was a call to action.  “What can you do,” we were asked, “to bring more light?”  We were then charged. Choose a mitzvah.  Commit to do it. Bring light.

If you’d like to add yours, or read more about the extraordinary people lost, the Chabad House is open.

As it was in Mumbai.

And will be again.

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