Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, of Miami, Florida, was interviewed on CCN regarding yesterday’s tragic building collapse in his neighborhood.

As I write this, there are reports of 4 dead and still 159 people unaccounted for. It is a tragedy beyond the scope of comprehension and Rabbi Lipskar said just that. There are no explanations and no way to reckon with it. “The only thing that helps in these times is the kindness, empathy and togetherness, because you can not take away the reality of it”.

He also mentioned something that I found to be very moving. He said, that just last week, the Florida state Governor was at their synagogue and had signed two bills in to law. One was mandating “ A Moment of Silence” in all of Florida’s schools, and the other was giving official status to the Hatzalah- a local Jewish emergency response team. Rabbi Lipskar noted how both of these “new bills” were the only things that could help during this crisis- prayer, and the emergency responders.

I found this to be moving, because it felt as though the stage had been set for teaching old and young alike how to deal when we are faced with crisis. “A Moment of Silence” is something that Rebbe had encouraged for years- While all the religion and spiritual guidance has been taken out of our public schools, the students should, at the very least, be given a moment every single day for quiet reflection and prayer. In a world that is so, so noisy, a moment of silence gives the students a respite from all the clamor and chaos. It is a reminder to them (and us) that it is possible and necessary to stop, silence the outside voices, and reflect on “Who am I? What am I doing? What is this all about?”, and to whisper a prayer.

We can not take away the realities of our sometimes harsh existence, but we can gift ourselves and our children the inner quietness that is necessary in facing those challenges. That inner calm along with the awareness that their is a G-d who hears their prayers.

With that message, before lighting Shabbat candles tonight, please give an extra coin to charity and include a prayer for all the victims, those unaccounted for, and for their families.

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom