by Rabbi Pinchas Allouche
Celebration to Devastation
On April 15, at 2:50 pm, the Boston Marathon came to an abrupt end. Two explosions ripped through the finish line, killing at least three and injuring 176 innocent beings, turning a sunny day of celebration into a gloomy day of devastation.
As the Boston Marathon came to its abrupt and tragic end, our sense of safety and security was shattered. Whenever death intrudes, life just seems so vulnerable. The painful feelings of grief and helplessness cannot be ignored: How should we respond? What can we do in the face of such ruthless brutality?
Amid the ambiguities and confusion, a fascinating juxtaposition stood clear: On the one hand, a group of runners and their fans had assembled to celebrate life. On the other, two murderers gathered to spew evil and destruction. Although Moses commanded us to “choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy, 30:19), they chose death. Ironically, the sanctity of life that we cherish so deeply disturbs those who hate it so fervently.
And here lies the key to our response: we must respond to death by strengthening our commitment to life and experiencing fully its every moment. Passionate hatred toward living a life of G-dly and moral ideals must be fought with a passionate love for it. Forces who wish to destroy life ought to be challenged by forces who aspire to build life with purpose and direction. True, our government and its agencies should do everything in its power to eradicate any person or body that seeks its harm. But it is not enough to focus on that which we are fighting against; we must also know that which we are fighting for.
The Marathon’s Finish Line is Today’s Starting Line
“An unexamined life is not worth living,” Socrates famously said. Let us rise from this tragedy by ensuring that we live an examined and purposeful life. Let us leave our marks on this world for good. Let us fully realize our G-d-given skills and talents. Let us “choose life” and fill our years with actions of goodness and deeds of kindness.
The Boston Marathon of 2013 ended tragically, but the marathons of our lives must continue. Yesterday’s finish line must become today’s starting line.
In G-d we trust, that ultimately, with our help, life will prevail.