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"After Death."

“After Death!”

This parsha is entitled after the death (of two of Aaron's sons.)

Especially now

'After the death' is on our minds -

after the death of all those killed by terrorists,

after the death of all those who died defending the land of Israel,

after the death of all the holy souls who were murdered for being Jewish,

after the death of all our loved ones who have predeceased us.

There is evil in the world, and

there is death and pain in abundance.

There is so much distress and agony all around.

We do not and cannot understand why there is so much suffering.

And yet, God tasks us with being His representative in the world,

to conquer evil, to bring healing and relief and

to fight for goodness, for justice and for righteousness.

We attempt to be ongoing beacons of light.

How do we help those who are mourning?

A Midrash on the book of Job reveals that

before God takes a child from his mother,

God consults the Council of Mothers, seeking their consent.

First, God consults with Sarah,

who is said to have died after hearing about the binding of her son, Isaac.

God asks Sarah if this mother will be able to handle the news?

Sarah answers, "I am the mother of all mothers. I'll stand by her side and help her."

Then God consults with Rebecca who sent Jacob away, never to see him again.

God asks her," Will this woman be able to handle being separated from her child?"

Rivkah promises, "I'll be with her. I'll stand with her."

Next Hashem consults with Rachel who died in childbirth (giving birth to Binyamin) and had to leave her baby without a mother.

God asks Rachel," What will become of this woman?"

Rachel promises, "I will cry with her."

Finally, God calls out to Leah and asks,

"This daughter of mine, will she go on living? Can she handle the longing?" and

Leah answers, "I'm the mother of the Messiah, who descends from David.

I'll lend a hand to help her until the Redemption comes and the dead live again."

This Midrash teaches us that the foremothers promise to be

an honor guard for every bereaved parent.

Sarah and Rivka on one side and Rachel and Leah on the other,

promising to support, cry, be present and help the bereaved.

Perhaps the lesson extends to us today, to be like the foremothers-

to be supportive, helpful and to cry with the mourners.

Loss of a loved one is overwhelming and is almost impossible to process alone.

We need to be present for each other.

It is no easy task but one that brings much comfort to those mourning

and brings us together in deeply meaningful ways.

May God bless us with the strength and

the courage to be present for those who are suffering.

With much love and wishes for a Shabbat shalom


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