by Rabbi Shimon Stillerman |

America is reeling from the worst mass shooting in its history. Our hearts and prayers are with all the victims.

No matter the outcome of what any investigation may find, if and what the motive was, I feel that these words (or lack of) apply to any and all evil we face.

As people of faith we direct our outrage to G-d: “Why did You allow this?”

We believe that G‑d is good. And yet He has created human beings that commit horrific evil. We are faced with this question too often.

We believe in our Torah and in its truth, yet of all the questions it answers, why on this one does it fail us?

We learn that good cannot come without evil, just as darkness cannot come without light.

But, G‑d, dear all-powerful G‑d, could You not do whatever You please? Could you not create light without darkness, good without evil? Can a G‑d who is good allow such horror?

We are told that human beings must be given free choice. That this is the ultimate kindness of G‑d to humankind, that He grants us the space to fail, and the opportunity to achieve greatness on our own.

But couldn’t there be some limits to free choice, to remove some of the evil? Even the most liberal parents will have limits on the freedoms they grant their children. And here, in our world, we see evil without bound.

Every day we are surrounded by the beauty of G-d’s wonders. Every day, we see the miracles, the goodness of G-d to all of us. We will not lose faith, we will not stop praying to G-d. But if we will not stand up and demand, “Does the Judge of all the earth not do justice?” if we will not ask, “Why have you done evil to your people?” — then what kind of a people are we?

One day, we will understand. Until then, we must be outraged.

We must reach deep inside ourselves.

With the questions and outrage comes an even greater resolve to repair this world. If in just 10 minutes a madman can destroy the lives of hundreds, we must counter attack! What can we do in 10 minutes to change hundreds of lives for the better?

How do we attack our surroundings with just 10 minutes of kindness that can affect hundreds? I don’t know a good answer for that yet. (Please share ideas or email Rabbi@Jewishislip.com.)

To start, we can all take 10 minutes a day to “attack” someone lonely with love and compassion. Find someone that lost their hope in living, and encourage them to want to keep living. For only goodness and kindness can heal this world.

This is our answer for now: That we cannot be allowed to understand. For if we would understand, we would not be outraged.

And then there would be no one to heal G‑d’s world.

Rabbi Shimon Stillerman is the co-director at Chabad Jewish Center of Islip Township in Bay Shore, N.Y. 
Courtesy Photo: Håkan Dahlström/Flickr