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How to Personally Respond to a Terrorist Attack

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This post is in honor of the victims and survivors of yesterday’s terrorist attack in Manhattan. 

In situations like terrorist attacks, that you have no control over, the answer is to control what you can control: Your own life and destiny. The great mystic, the Baal Shem Tov teaches that you are like a mirror — everything you witness is a reflection of what you need to refine in your own world. When you witness violence, look carefully at the discord you experience (and perhaps perpetuate) in your own life. When you build a secure life, home, and family, you are building a secure world.

“Harmony in our personal lives brings harmony into the world.” – Rabbi Simon Jacobson

Concrete Suggestions for Bringing Peace Into Your Sphere of Influence

1. Stand for something: Do you know what your ideology is? What you stand for? Define your values, and build a life around them.

2. Educate others: Instead of complaining about ignorance in your world, shine light from your own corner. A small light dispels a lot of darkness. Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to demand a higher standard from your family and community.

3. Connect to something eternal: Lasting security comes not from external forces like governments and police, but from your connection to a power greater than yourself. It bolsters your sense of personal agency by giving you a solid spiritual foundation to stand on.

4. Engage with others: Reach out to people with different backgrounds than your own, and have a discussion about values and faith. Invite diverse guests to your home.

5. Stop judgmentalism: Review whether your faith and value system helps you to inspire others or to criticize others.

Every action you take has a ripple effect on the universe. Your acts of integrity, kindness, and generosity in your personal world have a transcendent power that anyone can imagine.


Go deeper into this subject: Balance | What Can We Do About the Recent Massacres? Lessons from Chanukah | The Plot Thickens: Jacob & Esau: Two Nation  | Massacre in San BernardinoThe Importance of Home & Family | The Antidote to Rage: Inner Security

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Mark Goldberg

What kind of advice is this you give?!?? Jihadists mean to homicide others… all others. Especially succulent are jews, but christians, buddhists, hindhus, jains, atheists, all have a place on the sacrificial plate of homicidism. What kind of nonsense do you preach in the name of the Torah and of Hashem?? Do you remember mumbai, India. The rabbi and his wife? They had their genital cut off as a sacrifice to the god of homicidism of all others- allah. She, the lovely eight months pregnant wife had her fetus cut out of her, then she was slaughtered he the rabbi… Read more »

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