A Kiddush Hashem

Last night, Britain experienced a terror attack which united the country in grief and fear. A suicide bombing at the Manchester Arena targeted innocent concert goers, leaving at least twenty two dead and fifty nine injured. Among the victims were an eight year old girl, and a teenager who was killed as she left the stadium. Amidst this horror and terror, emotions ran high; there were tears and screams; the screams of parents who had lost children, and of parents whose children were missing. There were sickening victory cries from terror groups, and calls of violence and division from extremists on both sides of the spectrum. But there was also an amazing act of kindness; a Kiddush Hashem which will stay in our minds for years following this unspeakable tragedy.

Enter Rabbi Shneur Cohen, the Chabad shliach from Manchester City Centre. While the city was consumed by grief and terror, he looked beyond the sorrow and tension and did all he could to help. It was a small act. But it was one which united us all at a time in which we desperately needed unity. While many felt too scared to leave their houses, Rabbi Cohen made for the scene of the attack, where emergency services were stationed; people who had to witness horrific things, and work day in day out to keep the public safe. And he brought them refreshments on a day when kindness seemed to be missing from the world; he extended the hand of friendship at a time when antagonism was rife.

Rabbi Cohen was filmed giving the following statement; ‘We are Manchester; we will stand together strong, shoulder to shoulder, with positive acts of kindness. Everyone can do their bit, show a smiling face… go out, do to your neighbour and your friend, an extra bit of kindness’

What better message to give to a city which is mourning its children? What better words of encouragement, when no encouragement to go on can be found in the previous night’s events? As the Rebbe ZT”L stated, ‘In times of increasing darkness, what we need is an increase in light’. What we need is acts of kindness; of love; and compassion. We must stick together rather than being torn apart, and do all we can to help our neighbours, friends, and those whom we don’t know; those we think we owe nothing to.

Because then, in the words of Rabbi Cohen, ‘We will go stronger’…


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