The medics had returned to Meron and were sitting in a circle around 45 candles, processing their loss, their limits
Everyone knows those men in the vests. They’re the ones with the brawn, the guts, and the equipment to jump into any fray and saves lives. But this time, the fearless men were sitting. They had done their best, used every tool they had — but 45 pure souls had been taken. Now the medics had returned to Meron and were sitting in a circle around 45 candles, processing their loss, their limits.
For many people, that image encapsulates the grief of the Meron tragedy, the helplessness in the face of a Divine decree. But in that image I saw the best of our nation — the way we respond to tragedy. In a circle, there’s nobody in the front or back, there’s no distinction between different types of Yidden. That typifies Hatzalah, and it typifies us all: We are unified at our core. We care so much and are willing to sacrifice to help because we understand deeply that each member of Am Yisrael is an entire world.
Even after their job was done — long after they had saved those who could still be saved and gently transferred those they couldn’t — the Hatzalah team had to tap into the power of that unified circle, because no one could grapple with the enormity of the loss on their own.
Achdus is our natural state and whenever we are faced with challenge we immediately know where to go — to eachother and to Hashem. That's how we grapple with challenge; we turn to Hashem, together.
In Mussaf on Rosh Hashanah we say, "Vayehi b'Yeshurun Melech, b'hisasef roshei am, yachad shivtei Yisrael "— when we are b'yachad, that's when Hashem is expressed in this world as Melech.It’s true that in moments of elation Klal Yisrael comes together, but really, it’s in the moments of adversity that we see clearly that there’s no distinction between one Jew and the next. And so they sat, cried, and sang in the place marked by grief and loss — but in their grief, they also gave us an image of our true strength.
Charlie Harary is a strategic advisor and motivational speaker.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 876)
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