Dear Friends,

A parent asks: “What shall I tell my child about God and sickness and death. Not only with young children it is hard to deal with this question, and what God’s role is when something “bad” happens to good people and especially those we love. A parent asks: “What shall I tell my child about God and sickness and death. Not only with young children it is hard to deal with this question, and what God’s role is when something “bad” happens to good people and especially those we love. 
                
Our Jewish tradition maintains that God is the One who is the force behind all of life, whether it be people, animals, flowers, etc. And while we hope that the people whom we love grow old, the reality is that all living things get sick, and all old people die one day.
                
But there is something more that Judaism affirms. We believe that there is a spark of God within each of us, and that that little light continues to exist even after we have passed from this world. Yes, to a young child, the image of stars in the heavens can provide some measure of comfort.  And for us adults, there is the realization that even as we cannot see the little light that is within us, it is from that light that we can grow into something more than what we have been; from that light that we give love and perform acts of kindness toward others. 
                
It says in the Talmud that “one person’s candle is light for many.” For me, that observation points to the mysterious potential that is within each of us. Or as Shakespeare wrote, “how far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” Our challenge: to shape God’s light into blessing so that something of us endures long after we are a part of this world.

Shabbat shalom,   

         Rabbi David Greenberg