Sometimes, it takes tragedy to realize the unique nobility transcendental counsel of our heritage. The bottom line is that it is very special to be a Jew.

The Value of Faith

Rabbi Chaim Kenny Cohen has taught Gemara and Jewish Studies at Yeshivat Machon Meir for over two decades. Other articles by him can be found at:

As a Torah educator it is always my task to show the value of living a life of faith in G-d along with the observance of the Mitzvot. A question that is often asked is that observant Jews have problems like everyone else with times of suffering and challenge – what is the value in being observant? There is no proof that they are happier than other people, and there are clearly many very fine people who do not strictly observe Shabbat or keeping kosher, and they seem to be content with their lives.

While that may be true, the challenge comes during times of tragedy. The man of faith has the tools to deal with such difficult encounters and is better equipped to overcome them and gain strength from them than people without faith. Of course there are exceptions, but the proof of my theory is seen in Parshat Shemini and was witnessed this week by the inspiring conduct of Rabbi Leo Dee, and his incredible faith in handling the unspeakable tragedy after his wife and two daughters were murdered by an Arab terrorist.

In the Torah portion, Aharon needed to deal with the loss of his beloved sons, Nadav and Avihu. This took place on the day of the dedication of the Mishkan. We are told, וידם אהרון, that Aharon remained quiet. He accepted his horrible fate without questioning Hashem in any way.

Rabbi Leo Dee demonstrated incredible courage and faith, to the point of giving strength and comfort to a grieving nation who all felt the pain of the loss of his beloved wife and daughters. Like Aharon, he accepted the decree without questioning. If this was Hashem’s will, as a believing Jew he didn’t react with protest or bitterness, but with a lofty nobility.

It takes a great deal of study and spiritual application to reach the level where one achieves this unshakable faith. Clearly, this is a sign of a man of convictions who understands his role and purpose in this world as a servant of the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

There are no shortcuts to acquiring a spirit of optimism and trust in the face of great disaster. A religious way of life has numerous benefits. Sometimes, it takes tragedy to realize the unique nobility transcendental counsel of our heritage. The bottom line is that it is very special to be a Jew.




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