Sadly, I have written to you too many times in reaction to horrible incidents of violence in our country, carried out with awful efficiency through the use of powerful guns. I have written about the obligation the Torah places upon us not to “stand idly by” as the blood of our neighbors is spilled (Leviticus 19:16). I have urged us all to action. And yet nothing has changed. The blood of children, the blood of gay and lesbian young adults, the blood of the elderly has been spilled in our streets, and nothing has been done to stop it.
Although it is tempting to give in to despair, we need to keep in mind that despair is the voice of the “evil inclination,” the voice that says there is nothing we can do. We have to maintain our faith that our actions matter. Calling our elected representatives in Harrisburg and in Washington matters. Raising our voices matters. And hearing the blood of our neighbors cry out from the ground matters. Whatever measures you favor to stop the bloodshed, now is the time to advocate for them. We cannot afford, once again, to stand idly by.