Yesterday, Shmuel Salomon arose from his seven-day shiva mourning period to enter his 8-day old son, Ari Yosef, into the brit, the holy covenant of Abraham. This is the exact mainifestation of Ecclesiastes 3:4, "A time for eulogizing and a time for dancing." Often, especially in our lives here in the Land of Emuna, joy is juxtaposed with sorrow, both in the extreme.
Shmuel Salomon was sitting shiva for his martyred father, brother and sister who were brutally murdered last Shabbat evening at their Shabbat table. Not only were they murdered on Shabbat but murdered in the midst of performing several lofty mitzvoth - observing the Shabbat, celebrating the Shabbat, and celebrating the arrival of Shmuel's newborn son. I've had many people ask me probing questions this week, such as, "How could Hashem take away such righteous people?" Dozens of eulogies praised how each martyred member of the Salomon family was so special. Chaya, 46, was chosen as the most outstanding teacher in Lod. Elad, 36, was sweeter than honey, the type of person that seemed to lack any inclination for evil or cruelty. The father Yosef, 70, was a tzaddik who loved Hashem, His Torah, his fellow human and his holy homeland. And, as one email asked, "How could Hashem take these righteous souls in such a horrid manner?"
With emuna, we don't circumvent difficult questions. Here's my answer, and like everything else, it's the product of what I've learned from the "Minister of Emuna", my esteemed and holy teacher, Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a:
Each individual is here in the physical world on a mission. His life in this world is temporary; it begins and ends according to the task he must perform. When a person dies, even if the cause of death is seemingly apparent, it is the result of Divine decree – exacting to the tiniest detail. One person comes to earth for a seventy year tour of duty while another person is on a twenty year mission. A soul can sometimes fulfill its correction on earth in a mere five years within the body of a child. The considerations and Divine calculations are endless and mind-boggling, where everything is taken into consideration - past lives, credits, debts and many more.
Some souls come down to earth for a very specific soul correction; as soon as they complete it, there is no longer reason for them to remain here so they hurry back to their rightful place in Gan Eden ("Garden of Eden", the World to Come). Usually, after these souls die, those who knew them say how much those souls were so special and righteous who never did anything wrong. So, don't be surprised when you see martyrs who were the best imaginable people of the highest caliber. The reason they left this earth when they did was simply because they accomplished the mission that Hashem sent the here to perform.
The very fact that these righteous, often young people who didn't seem to have an evil inclination die before their time is apparently up is a giveaway that shows that they came here for a very special purpose. The holy Ariza"l (the father of Kabbala whose yahrtzeit is today, the 5th of Av) says that the evil inclination puts the most difficult obstacles in the way of the very mission that a person must perform on this earth. When a person has many different evil inclinations, it's an indication that he or she has much to correct in this world. But, those special people, especially the young ones who never did anything wrong, came here for a narrow specific purpose. They complete it and they depart.
What we do know is that Hashem does everything for the best. When logic kicks out, emuna - complete faith - kicks in. Have a lovely Shabbat and a wonderful weekend. May we all hear good tidings from each other, amen!
Don't forget to see our mini-lesson on this week's Torah portion in the post directly below.