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August 2, 2014 | 6th Av 5774

Reflections on the Life of Yitzhak Rabin, by Rabbi Alexander Schindler

...That foul deed, that cowardly, murderous assassination, undermines none of what Yitzhak Rabin taught us. It merely proves the truth of his avowal that there is no road back. That road has already vanished. Chaos is all that lurks there. And those who lie in ambush on the road ahead are but the children of chaos. The gods they invoke are idols sculpted in cold steel. The chaos to which they cling is not a justifiable hatred of Jews for their fellow Jew. Once upon a time, we are taught, such a sinat chinam, such a vain and futile hatred led to the destruction of the Holy Temple and our nationhood. We will not tolerate its emergence again!

This bitter lesson too we have relearned: that words are not wind, that they are the shadow of deeds, that they can hold society together or incite a fanatic to kill. Let us be heedful of our words, then all of us!

And so we express our own great sorrow over this loss. To our grieving brothers and sisters mourning in Israel we offer our comforting presence. To the Prime Minister's broken-hearted family we offer our deep-felt sympathy as well as our grateful thanks for the sacrifice they made to enable this man of history to make history.

His vision of peace remains his most precious legacy. It is a vision shared by soldiers weary of fighting, by mothers and fathers, and sons and daughters, weary of weeping, by Jews, by peoples everywhere, who want release from the shadow of fear into the sunshine of reconciliation. We will not squander this inheritance. We will guard it, nurture it, and grow it into a treasure for future generations.

And so it is that Yitzhak Rabin's death leaves us bereft. It has diminished our strength. Truly a star has been torn from the firmament of our lives, and our lives are darker because of it.

May his soul be bound up in the bond of everlasting life.

Rabbi Alexander Schindler
Carnegie Hall, New York
November 7, 1995

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