Friday, January 9th, 2015 3:30 PM. Paris.

The world was frozen. After two terrorist attacks that left 13 people dead this week, a hateful terrorist was holding hostage some 20 people, including women and young children, in Hyper Cacher (read Hyper Kasher), a Jewish grocery store in Paris. We did not know who he was, but we knew he was there to kill.

We were all home, fervently reciting Psalms for the well-being of the hostages while frantically searching for news on the internet and social media. Alarming messages kept aggravating the anguish, telling Jews not to go out at any cost, that the police had asked to cancel Shabbat services that evening.

Then I walked past the kitchen and I saw my wife. She was, like me, holding her smartphone with one hand, scanning through social media and news reports, while talking on the home phone stuck between her chin and shoulder.

But she had something else in her right hand that seemed totally disconnected from the situation: a ladle. There she was, swirling in the kitchen from the sink to the stove and from the oven to the cutting board. It was a French 9/11, the world was exploding, and she felt it. But Shabbat was coming and she was – also – preparing for Shabbat.

She reminded me of the story in the Talmud that when, after a fierce battle against the defenders of Jerusalem, the Babylonian troops burst into the Holy Temple in order to wreak havoc in it and burn it to the ground, they found the Kohanim doing the daily offerings as usual.

And here, there was a drama unfolding, there was the terrorist and there was the terror, palpable. But there was also life, there was the sanctity of Shabbat and this monster was not able to damage it. At that time, my wife appeared to me as the High Priest in the Holy of Holies. Stricken by fear, but accomplishing her holy duty with passion.

She was personifying the words I once read in a letter by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory: “Am Yisrael chai, the Jewish nation is alive, and his Torah is a ‘living Torah’, about the commandments of which is said ‘one shall live by them’ and it was given by the ‘living G‑d.””

So we French Jews will keep on going about our simple and quiet everyday lives, in the very fashion that G‑d commanded us to do so. We will keep on buying our kosher products in kosher grocery stores; we will keep on sending our children to Jewish day schools; we will keep on attending services at our synagogues. And we will keep on living and thriving and contributing to the society at large.

The evil Haman from the story of Purim sought to annihilate the Jewish people, but instead ended up giving them an extra holiday, and a most joyous one at that.

Those terrorists, while causing so much suffering with the murder of those innocent victims, did something else they hadn’t planned to. They just gave our simple, quiet, everyday life so much more value.

From now on, for French Jews, every daily routine Jewish act will openly be the reflection of the unwavering commitment of the Jewish soul to its Creator.