Exactly four years ago to this day in the Hebrew calendar, Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg, emissaries of the Rebbe and the beloved directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, were killed at their Chabad House in an act of a terror.
According to security services, the Chabad House was a pre-selected target of at least 10 suspected Islamic terrorists who came ashore in Mumbai near the Gateway of India monument. Sadly nine people in the Chabad house and a total of 195 people were killed during those fateful Wednesday night through Friday attacks.
Miraculously, the Holzberg’s toddler son, Moshe managed to escape hours before the incident as a result of heroic actions of Sandra Samuel, his nanny from India. Moshe, whose birthday was the following Saturday, was thankfully unharmed.
This week in observance of the memory of the victims, Mirah Sharf, the Chabad emissary in Delhi India, arrived in Israel to attend a special service marking the anniversary of the attack on the Chabad House of Mumbai in 2008. Tragically a Hamas rocket fired at Kiryat Malachi early Thursday morning killed Mirah, who was pregnant, and two other members of the Chabad community. Additionally Mirah’s four-year old son and her two-year old and eight-month old daughters, sustained injuries and are hospitalized.
When will the madness end?
My heart aches for Mirah and her family, and quite frankly I am in a state of shock. Although there is nothing I can do to turn back the hands of time, I am certain as a Chabad emissary, the legacy of Mirah's death will continue to spread light and joy to the people in India where she served. This past week it was not just the Chabad community that suffered the loss of a beloved hero, it was not just the Jewish community that suffered the loss of a leader, it was all peoples who desire true peace and harmony that suffered a major light outage. Indeed rockets of hate and forces of conflict extinguished a great shining light, a voice of peace, and lover of people.
I never met Mirah in person but as a fellow follower of Chasidic teachings, I know that if Mirah could speak now she would ask that we take our rage and anger of such senseless hate and heinous acts of cold blooded murder and channel it to greater focus on the light. She would ask all those that would like to honor her memory to do so with acts of goodness and kindness.
In addition, tonight, Friday night, Mirah would have done what Jewish woman and girls have been doing for thousands of years every Friday at sundown, she would usher in the Sabbath by lighting candles.
Tonight if you would like to light Shabbat candles in her place, I am certain she would be delighted.
Our world suffered the loss of a great leader this week just as the enemies of peace have taken many an innocent life. Nonetheless we have been taught that just as a candle illuminates a room that was once dark, so too every act of goodness and kindness tips the cosmic scale and transforms the forces of darkness into pure light. Let us continue to spread the light Mirah kindled in India to every corner of the world.