Contact Us

You Don’t Need Your Own Truck to Be a Terrorist

You Don’t Need Your Own Truck to Be a Terrorist

And you don’t need formal organizations to counterattack

 Email
The truck driven into a crowd on Oct. 31 in Lower Manhattan, resulting in the deaths of eight people. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The truck driven into a crowd on Oct. 31 in Lower Manhattan, resulting in the deaths of eight people. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

This week, it was Texas. Last week, it was New York, which led me to believe that today’s terrorists are not the terrorists of the past.

Once, terrorists were required to undergo a meticulous recruitment and vetting process: They practiced for several months at a remote training camp; they maintained secret contact with their handlers; they received detailed, encrypted instructions. After months of planning, and theoretical and physical training, the attack was carried out.

Today’s terrorists are completely different.

Apparently, the man who carried out the murderous attack last week in New York did not receive orders from anyone. No one trained him. No one supplied him with weapons. ​He didn’t even own the truck he used to mow down innocent people on a bike path in Lower Manhattan! ​A few hours before the attack, he rented a Home Depot vehicle that would become his deadly weapon. The tragic result: eight people lost their lives and many others were injured because of his evil, misguided initiative.

If the bad guys have changed their strategy, then perhaps we, too—all of us on the other side, on the side of the good—need to change our strategy as well.

Once, in order to devote yourself to doing good, you needed to be part of a group. And it was a real process: Some would start a charitable fund to attract donors large and small; others would join grassroots organizations, attending dozens of meetings to launch a project to help the city’s needy; some would take the time needed in advanced education to become a social worker or run a nonprofit. Others would spend years of study in a yeshivah to earn rabbinical ordination with the goal of becoming a shaliach—one of the Rebbe’s emissaries somewhere around the world.

Today, it is necessary to act more quickly. With the benefit of social media, you don’t have to set up an organization or invest in infrastructure. There’s no time to wait for someone to recruit; most of us need no training. Today, we are required to do everything possible to prevail over evil, quickly and decisively. We can and must bring goodness and holiness to every part of the world, without limit and without delay, and it must be done by each and every one of us.

Even as lone-wolf terrorists continue to carry out attacks, we must use our individual initiative to achieve our own unexpected and impactful acts of holiness. What exactly should we do? Where and when? It doesn’t matter. We can’t wait for instructions from above; we must just go ahead and bombard the world with acts of kindness.

Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the editor of Beit Chabad, the Hebrew edition of Chabad.org.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Start a Discussion
1000 characters remaining
Related Topics