As a mourner I am keenly aware of death. After all I am reminded of my mother’s passing each and every day three times a day. And so it comes as no surprise that I pause and contemplate every time I learn of someone passing or read of a tragic death.
The events of this past week are particularly difficult to fathom. First, the tragic death of seven innocent children in a Shabbos house fire in Brooklyn, New York and then the intentional murder of over 150 innocent passengers by a suicidal co-pilot. Events such as these test even the strongest believer among.
As mere mortals we cannot and should not expect to understand the Almighty’s ways. We must rely on our belief that His ways are always just and accept His decrees. Yet, we should not just move on. We need to reflect, to look deep inside ourselves and ask, “What is G-d trying to tell us?” What do I need to do to improve?”
Saying kaddish is all about what happens after one’s life on this earth is complete. It is about the World to Come. It is about the eternity that awaits each one of us.
Focusing on what we can do better in this world to improve our lot in the World to Come will not explain His ways but it will give us a context in which to respond to the tragedies we witness.