The Attempted Political Assassination of Gabrielle Giffords A Jewish response

 Chabad of Mineola’s Rabbi Anchelle Perl urges the President of the USA proclaim a “National Day of Reflection” and that the entire Senate & Congress adjourn for a week.  

 Let the United States Senate & Congress break for a week & Travel across the USA to teach Civil Behavior

 A Lesson from Jewish History: When the Jewish people had first settled the land of Canaan, a terrible civil war broke out. An outrageous and brutal rape and murder occurred in the territory of Benjamin. The other tribes were outraged. The Book of Judges tells us that close to 70,000 people died in the ensuing battles.

 In the ancient Midrash, Tana d'Bei Eliyahu Rabba, the sages ask why did so many have to die?

 Their answer is very revealing. Because, they say, the great assembly of judges and rabbis that Moses and Joshua had left behind sat in their place next to the Holy Tabernacle and judged the people.

 What should they have done? In the language of the Midrash, "they should have lifted their skirts above their knees, girded their loins with iron girdles and wandered from town to town, one day in Hebron, one day in Lod, and taught the people civil behavior."

 The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneeerson cited this passage often noting that the proper place of this assembly, known as "Sanhedrin," is next to the Holy Tabernacle. If they are not there, the law is that no court throughout the land can serve a capital sentence. And yet they were to leave the Capitol and travel across the country.

 So here we have a very poignant instance of just what we are talking about: The Sanhedrin was to sacrifice the power of the governing body to administrate and adjudicate for the sake of teaching the people civil behavior. The judges themselves were to leave their place and go to the people. As one commentary explains, the people must see they are taking this seriously.

 The USA stands for a society that is obsessed with the concerns of each of its citizens, while it recognizes the supremacy of Divine authority — "one nation under G‑d."

 So a senator or congressperson or Supreme Court judge may say, that's very nice, but it's not our job to take care of the spiritual welfare of our nation.

 To this, the Rebbe, Rabbi Schneerson tells us, on the contrary: the entire purpose of a nation, of law and order, of freedom and of government is the spiritual growth of each individual.

 This is the only way a society can establish stability.

 Law and order, justice and the security of its citizens are Divine missions of every governing body, but they are not its principal task.

 The principal task of government is to provide opportunity for every individual to grow, physically, mentally and spiritually, and to reach the greatest potential of human expression that that individual is able to reach; to teach people civil behavior and engage them in discussion of spiritual growth.

 Let’s encourage and respectfully request that all the members of the Senate, of Congress and yes, of the Supreme Court gird their loins and traveling across the USA to ensure a focus on civil behavior and respect for one another.

 What Can an Individual Do?

 What can we say in the face of such tragedy? What can we do on behalf of a friend and leader who is struggling for her life? So many of us feel powerless to help. Is there anything we can do?

 Judaism provides us with a timeless formula for moments like this. As we say every Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, while G/d in His infinite wisdom maps out the course of our days, the three-fold formula of “tzedaka, prayer, and teshuva” have the power to sway our fates.

 Tzedaka: Today, make a resolution to give a portion of money to charity in the name of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of her shooter.

Prayer: taps into each person’s unique ability to speak with God. So often we forget about this awesome power that we have; a tragedy like this is a good chance to remind ourselves that we have the power to talk directly with God. One option is to say Psalms. A common psalm that is frequently recited in order to help a sick person is Psalm 20.

 Teshuva: means returning to our roots. Today, resolve to take on one step toward spiritual growth in the merit of a speedy recovery of all those who were injured, and in honor of the memory of those who were slain.