How I will cling to my children tonight! How I will cry out in pain for those lost little ones in Connecticut and for their families!
To make matters worse, tonight is the seventh night of Chanukah. We are near the climax of our holiday that celebrates increasing the light. Today's events are all darkness—a pit of swirling, unending darkness.
Our tradition tells us that we are obliged to defy darkness. It is our duty not to give in to despair, but to insist that we are sustained by hope. We must rail against the fatalism that says that there is nothing we can do. We must dedicate ourselves to declaring that the world can be—must be—better.
"Never despair! Never! It is forbidden to give up hope!"
—Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, Likutei Moharan II:78
Today is not the day, but tomorrow surely will be, to say that there are things that we can do—must do—to stop events like this from happening again. Our governments, state and federal, can take action. Our communities can take action. Our schools and families can take action. Each one of us as individuals can do something. We have an obligation to rail against the darkness, to increase the light where there is despair.
My Chanukah plea to you is this: Be part of the light. Call your Congressmen and Senators on Monday morning and tell them how you feel about gun control. Show up at the next school board meeting and make your voice heard about emergency preparedness. Get in touch with your local police department and talk with them about how to prevent violence in your community. Support organizations that advocate effective treatment for mental illness and provide support for the families of people who are mentally ill.
Do something. That has always been the Jewish response to despair. Confront the darkness.