Opinion

The making of heroes: an introspective look at the terrorist attacks in Mumbai

We are now two months removed from the terrorist attacks, which took place over Thanksgiving.  

Of the many words spoken in the reporting of this event, “hero” has become rather frequently used. 

There are many words in our daily vocabulary that we tend to use casually, without really contemplating their true characteristics and significance. So I ask myself, why has this word been chosen to describe the fallen? What is a hero, and how does one obtain such an honorable title?  

In pop culture a hero tends to be a sports figure, a movie star or someone who holds a glamorous page on the front cover of weeklies, the reason being that perhaps he/she defeated the odds, achieving something no one thought that they could. Commendable? Of course, but HERO? Somehow I feel like we are cheating the word. 

The Chabad representatives to India, Rabbi Gaby and Rivkah Holzberg, fed hundreds of meals weekly to travelers, thrill seekers and business people who came through Mumbai. Each meal was 100 percent kosher; all were home made.  

There is no kosher meat available in India, so Rabbi Holtzberg became a ritual slaughterer and prepared hundreds of chickens a month for strangers at no cost. They opened their home, and their hearts to perfect strangers, often advising them about their troubles, or simply providing them with a home thousands of miles away from their own. Yet this is not what made them heroes. This was their sole purpose in moving there to begin with.

Their allotted time on this earth was up and their lives ended brutally. 

And as the whole world turned our eyes towards the Nariman Chabad House and watched, in our hearts we proclaimed them “heroes.” 

It isn’t the brutality of their deaths that made them heroes. Many great and holy sages died brutal deaths. There had to be something special, different something which separated them from all those before them.  

For two days the whole world watched together, glued to the TV or internet. We hoped, we prayed, we joined together and performed acts of goodness and kindness. When the news was reported, we all mourned together, one world united. We were all there together in real time and felt the world had been changed by a young couple living in a far-off land. The world became a different world, a gentler world and a more spiritual world.  

In their lives, they reached hundreds, and in their deaths, the entire world.

Let’s keep their memories alive by making resolutions to performing acts of goodness and kindness. For more information log onto www.ChabadUM.org/mumbai.

February 2, 2009

Reporters

Rabbi Mendy Fellig

Chaplain at University of Miami Chabad


Around the Web
  • Error
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

RSS Error: WP HTTP Error: fsocket timed out

NASA wants to return humans to the moon by 2024. A University of Miami engineering graduate is part ...

University of Miami student Kayla Crews has always been facinated with Japan and its culture. Partic ...

School of Communication senior Leah Brown attended Cannes Lions Festival, one of the largest annual ...

A University of Miami engineering faculty member discusses how California’s infrastructure fared dur ...

The University of Miami utilizes WeatherSTEM units on campus that continually scan atmospheric condi ...

ESPN Events announced Thursday afternoon the bracket for the 2019 Charleston Classic, set to take pl ...

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday its 2018-19 academic honor roll and 177 University o ...

The ACC Network is set to launch August 22. If your television provider hasn't yet decided to c ...

Claudia De Antonio, Renate Grimstad and Kristyna Frydlova were each selected as WGCA All-American Sc ...

On Jan. 2, 2001, the Canes and Gators met for the first time in 13 years, renewing on of college foo ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.