Jewish National Fund - We Only Have ONE ISRAEL


Rabbi Rafi RankThis past week, we were all taken by the terrible tragedy in Minneapolis when a bridge spanning the Mississippi River collapsed in the midst of the evening's rush hour traffic. It could not have happened at a worst time. But in spite of the terrible tragedy and the poor timing of the accident, the death toll has remained remarkably low and the missing, relatively few. There was even one story of a school bus filled with at least 50 children ages 6-16, falling some 65 feet, and yet all the children emerged from that bus safe.

This accident would have been a tragedy for any city, but especially so for Minneapolis, a relatively quiet urban center in the Midwest. But what should we focus on? Do we focus on the dead or do we focus on those who survived? Do we wring our hands and question God or do we stand in awe of God goodness knowing how much worse it could have been? Was this incident more tragedy or more miracle? How are we to understand it?

In The Torah portion this week, Ekev, we read: "Listen Israel, you are about to cross the Jordan today to go in and dispossess nations greater and more populous than you!" (Deuteronomy 9:1).

The Jordan the Israelites had to cross must have represented for them many of the fears and anxieties they had about entering a new land-would they be able to conquer the indigenous people? Would they be able to settle in the land and become prosperous? Would they enjoy peace? And so forth. And as we all know, the Israelites did cross that river because their leadership had prepared them for courage and success. Courage and success, the positive energy of winning and victory was their bridge that allowed them to cross over troubled waters.

This past week, in Minneapolis, the situation was far different. Here we were dealing with a troubled bridge over calm waters. Having been cited for structural flaws, the bridge was in need of repair which tragically, did not come soon enough. But as with all people who must rise to a challenge, all of us must learn how to put tragedy into perspective. Some died, but many more lived and now the goal is to rebuild and rebuild in such a way that an accident of this nature never happens again. We must focus on the positive, for the positive creates the bridge that allows us to cross into the future.

Our prayers are with the families who lost loved ones and we join in expressions of gratitude to God for all those who survived.

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