The young widow of Toulouse murder victim Rabbi Jonathan Sandler has issued a heartfelt plea asking Jewish parents to increase light in the world through Torah.
The rabbi and his two young sons, ages 3 and 6, were shot to death along with the 8-year-old daughter of the principal of Otzar HaTorah day school in southern France on Monday. The Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist who carried out the attack was killed Thursday after a 30-hour siege by French commandos who finally stormed the nearby apartment building in which they had him pinned him down.
The young widow's message, issued originally in Hebrew in 'A Heartfelt Plea for Increased Light by Mrs. Chava (Eva) Sandler of Toulouse' was published late Thursday on the Chabad.org website.
In her grief, the young widow asked parents to find special love for their children, increase the study of Torah, to light the Sabbath candles before sunset each Friday, and invite guests to the Passover seder.
"My heart is broken,” she wrote. “I am unable to speak. There are no ways for me to be able to express the great and all-consuming pain resulting from the murder of my dear Rabbi Jonathan and our sons, Aryeh and Gavriel, and of Miriam Monsonego, daughter of the dedicated principal of Otzar HaTorah and his wife, Rabbi Yaakov and Mrs. Monsonego.
"May no one ever have to endure such pain and suffering.”
Because so many people in France and around the world have been asking what they can do on her behalf, however, Sandler said she has felt compelled to respond.
"My husband's life was dedicated to teaching Torah,” she wrote. “We moved back to the country of his birth to help young people learn about the beauty of Torah.
"He was truly a good man, living, giving and selfless. He was sensitive to all of G-d's creatures, always searching for ways to reveal the goodness in others. He and I raised Aryeh and Gavriel to live the ways of Torah. Who would have known how short would be their time on this Earth, how short would be the time I would be with them as their mother?”
Sandler went on to express her faith that regardless of the horrific manner in which her husband and the three little children died, she still knows that “the ways of G-d are good, and He will reveal the path and give us the strength to continue.”
To all those who have asked how to bring consolation to the family and contentment to the souls of the departed, therefore, Sandler said, “Let's continue their lives on this Earth.
"Parents, please kiss your children,” she entreated. “Tell them how much you love them, and how dear it is to your heart that they be living examples of our Torah, imbued with the fear of Heaven and with love of their fellow man.
"Please increase your study of Torah, whether on your own or with your family and friends. Help others who may find study difficult to achieve alone.
"Please bring more light into the world by kindling the Sabbath candles this and every Friday night... a bit earlier than the published times as a way to add holiness to our world.
“The holiday of Passover is approaching. Please invite another person into your homes so that all have a place at a Seder to celebrate the holiday of our freedom.
"Along with our tearful remembrance of our trials in Egypt so many years ago, we still tell over how 'in each and every generation, they have stood against us to destroy us.' We all will announced in a loud and clear voice: 'G-d saves us from their hands.'
"The spirit of the Jewish People can never be extinguished; its connection with Torah and its commandments can never be destroyed.
"May it be G-d's will that from this moment on, we will all only know happiness.
"I send my heartfelt condolences to the Monsonego family for the loss of their daughter Miriam, and I pray for the speedy recovery of Aharon ben Leah, who was injured in the attack.
"Thank you for your support and love.”