Not Just a Drop in the Bucket

By: Kiki Arochas  |  October 23, 2023

By Kiki Arochas, Staff Writer

After hearing some tragic news regarding the family of a family member, I was overwhelmed with shock, confusion and sadness. To help juggle all of the conflicting emotions, I wrote this piece in my notebook to organize all of the thoughts I was feeling at that moment. Although it was written a few months ago, I felt it pertinent to publish it in light of the current situation in Israel. I feel that the sentiments expressed here mirror in some ways, the feelings I currently have about everything going on. I hope that this piece may help put voice and words to those who may also be struggling with such emotions in these trying times. 

What is the point of all this? Life is so short, so feeble and fleeting, yet time and time again complacency lends to the illusion of our immortality. This was not a matter of nutrition or man-induced, it was cardiac arrest. Totally, if the term is adequate, in the realm of God. This was a little boy, passing away in a manner typical of one in their eighties. No heads up, no sign of ill health. One day here, playing sports in camp, and suddenly his parents get the call of their worst nightmares. Of course, we are expected to say“Baruch Dayan Haemet” and “it’s all a part of the plan,” but again I find myself in the same conundrum that has haunted humankind forever: Why? There is no rationale for such a death. One cannot blame human evil, circumstance or folly; It is, if one could say such a thing, God’s fault. Rabbi Sacks was right when he said that to not take the issue of unexplainable evil in the world seriously, is to not take anything seriously at all. No one would, or in fact should, bat an eyelash if the sufferers of such tragedy leave their faith entirely in fact many do. Yet what does that say about faith in general, or really my own? Is my faith on the proverbial clock until, God forbid, something awful happens or never does? Much of faith is centered on not just intellectual stability but emotional stability. All the logic in the world will not bring one into religion if they have such negative experiences with it. Of course, there are those that remain in their faith in spite of tragedy, but who’s to say which category I fall into? The tough times will inevitably come, and when they do, can I face it? Or will I harbor in my own delusions, awakened only briefly by snippets of reality such as this, until the true ice water awakens me for good? I am terrified of the implications. I am terrified of what it might mean for myself. I do not know what to do. 

The only comfort I have is that by writing this down, perhaps this time will be different than the others. Maybe this time, even when the shock wears off and the passage of time consoles me, I will have this to look back on, to remind me of how I felt in this moment. This way, the truths and feelings that arise from these tragedies do not become mere drops in the bucket, but foundations on which to build my understanding of life and the world. I hope that will be the case.