People have called me to cry and ask for guidance in response to this week’s massacre in Pittsburgh. I don’t claim to understand G‑d and His ways, but if I had to imagine how things look in heaven, they might look something like this.

I am standing behind a white curtain that is shielding an incredibly bright light. So bright,If I come any closer, I will be absorbed by the light that while the curtain is blocking its direct impact, I can still feel the energy reverberating from behind it. I feel its heat. It is so bright, it reminds me of the light of a welder: you know you aren’t supposed to look at it, but you also can’t help yourself.

It is so bright and inviting, yet at the same time I feel that if I come any closer I will be absorbed by that light. So I stop. I hear sounds behind that curtain. The sounds are somehow booming and subtle at the same time.

I close my eyes, paying close attention, trying to make out the sounds. Then it comes to me. It is the sound of crying. Sobbing, even.

Crying in heaven? This makes no sense. In heaven all is truth, all is real. Happiness and sadness are united in the face of truth. Or so I thought.

I hear a rushing amidst the noise. I want to investigate, but I feel something dripping from under the curtain, pooling around my bare feet. Instantly, I understand. It is connected to the sobbing. These must be Gd’s tears; He is the one sobbing.

I don’t know the protocol in these celestial realms. Am I allowed to speak? May I question? Can I explore what is evident around me? The last to challenge Heaven’s ways–the angels who questioned G‑d for allowing the 10 Martyrs to be killed–were told to be quiet or the world would revert to nothingness? Should I try?

Timidly at first, I call out from my side of the now fully pulsating curtain.

“G‑d, is that You?”

“Yes, it is Me.”

The sound is so much softer and gentler than I had ever imagined. I always assumed that G‑d’s voice would be like a booming megaphone, rendering me deaf if ever I heard it.

Emboldened, I draw all the courage I can muster to speak more firmly.

“G‑d, sorry for the disrespect, but Your voice is so gentle.”

“That is OK, my son. Many people make that mistake. They confuse strength with noise. I don’t need to be loud to be powerful.”

Good point, I think to myself. I do usually make that association.

“True strength needs no exterior signs to prove its power. Its power is inherent.”

Woah. That got deep real quick. But I forge ahead.

“Can I ask You some questions, now that we’re talking?”

“I am kinda busy here, but I will take just one question for now.”

OK, here goes. True strength needs no exterior signs to prove its power

“I’m sitting here on earth, trying to process what you allowed to happen in the Pittsburgh Massacre, and I simply cannot make any sense of it. People are turning to me with me questions, and I have no answers. It is reawakening old, latent questions that we have pushed aside, but now they have returned with vengeance. G‑d, can you explain what’s going on?”

I hear a deep, deep sigh. The kind of sigh that expresses deep inner pain, a pain of bottled up frustrations that goes back many years, even lifetimes.

“Was that You sighing, G‑d?”

“Yes,” is the defeated reply.

“One second,” I continue, “I thought You are in charge of everything. If so, why did You allow it to happen? Or worse, why did You cause it to happen? And if You could have stopped it, why didn’t You? And if You allowed it to happen, why are You sighing?”

“My son, I cannot explain this to you. You need to be Me to understand Me. I can tell you, however, that I am with you and everyone else in your pain and sorrow. That crying you heard earlier was Mine. Those tears you felt, they were Mine. This incredible sadness I am enduring with all those victims and their families and those who suffered with them is intense.”

“I have My reasons, and perhaps at some later time I will be able to explain them to you. For now, they are locked in My treasury, destined to be My Divine secret.”

I feel frightened by the words that are about to leave my mouth, but I know I may never get this opportunity again, so I continue.

“G‑d, with the deepest respect for You and Your unknowable ways, that answer is just not good enough. We who have faith in You, who believe in You, who would die for Your holy name, are struggling. We need more than ‘it’s My secret for now.’”

“I know My son, and that is why I was crying. Not only for the fact that I am watching My children in pain. They are MY children. Which parent wants their child to be in pain? None. That includes Me. When you hurt, I hurt. When you cry, I cry. When you struggle, I struggle.

“What makes me cry even more is that I cannot explain Myself to you. That is even more painful to Me. If I could just tell you My reasons, My ways, you would have some measure of comfort. Unfortunately, you don’t have My knowledge, My perspective, and therefore I simply cannot tell you much more.

“Please, please My son, believe me when I tell you I am right there with you, hurting badly.”

I think I have run out of time with G‑d. I fear pressing my luck any further. Besides, He has already made it clear that He will not–cannot–explain any more.

As I prepare to thank Him for at least sharing His time with me, I hear a gentle whoosh and the curtains settle for but the briefest of moments.

“My son,” G‑d says to me, “Can I give you a hug?” I felt a sudden lightness; peace at my core

Quite taken aback, I wonder what that would feel like, and why, after the sentiments I just expressed, He would even want to.

“Of course,” I say. And I close my eyes. It is hard to explain what happened next.

I felt this serene warmth envelop my entire being. I felt a sudden lightness of existence. I felt peace at my core. I felt like musical notes coming out of an instrument. I still can’t make complete sense out of it all.

It felt like my unanswered questions, while they remained unanswered, were suddenly validated. They were honored and respected. They were taken in by G‑d Himself. I felt a kinship with Him and I felt He truly understood the depths of my despair at not understanding Him.

I felt that despite my inability to reconcile His words with my earthly reality, and the reality of those who lost their loved ones this week, we would remain in this relationship.

This is a hug.

We are looking past each other, at each other’s backs, yet we are in an embrace.