(Courtesy: Rabbi Shelton J. Donnell)

In the face of a disaster of this magnitude our voice joins that of the prophet Isaiah, “A voice says, Cry out! But I say, What shall I cry?” In the enormity of this pain and pathos an eternal silence is the response. Once, at a time of crisis—though its source was human cruelty rather than natural disaster—Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev stood and confronted God Almighty. “Ribbono she Olam, Sovereign of the Universe! I, Levi Yitzchok the son of Sarah, say to You that this violence must stop! I will not move from this spot until You make it stop!” Then, with out waiting for the silence, sure to be the response, Rebbe Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev raised his voice and loudly proclaimed, “Yitgadal, v’yitkadash, sh’mei rabba…”

Rebbe Levi Yitzchak proclaimed the words of the Kaddish, not as words of mourning for the dead, but for what they truly mean. They are words of praise above all praise to God, acknowledging God’s wonder and awesomeness. They are words of faith and fate. They are not a capitulation to fate, but rather an acknowledgement that through our faith in God, we become God’s partners in shaping our own destiny.