We Jews have tremendous coping power. This week, this was yet again put to the test.

The pain and suffering that the "Massacre of the Children" caused is beyond belief. Like all of us, I was deeply pained that once again our people are being slaughtered by Arab-Islamic Jew-hating murderers. Amongst the blackness of tragedy I was yearning for some hope and light. I did not have to wait long. In reading the news reports from Israel in the last few days, I found myself repeatedly saying: Thank G‑d for making me part of this great nation of Israel. The contrast could not be starker.

On Thursday, Israel assassinated Ismail Abu Shanab, one of the top five leaders of the murderous group that carried out the "Massacre of the Children."

The Arab response was tens of thousands marching through the streets of Gaza City chanting "Revenge, revenge," and "Sharon and Mofaz listen very well; our retaliation will send you to hell." About 15 men marched in long robes, signaling their willingness to become suicide bombers.

A senior member of another group of murderers and terrorists, the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, said that due to Israel's killing of Ismail Abu Shanab, Israelis should expect "many suicide attacks." He added that "the price will be very heavy." Hamas founder, spiritual leader and head terrorist Sheik Ahmed Yassin also said that his group would take revenge. "This crosses all red lines," Yassin said of the missile strike. Addressing Israelis, he said: "You will pay the price for these crimes." The cynicism is sickening. Murdering Jewish babies is perfectly moral for Yassin, but when Israel kills a known terrorist who orchestrated the attack and was working on the next suicide bombing, it is "crossing all red lines."

Let us not forget that these are people (or rather, as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon termed them, animals) who claim to be religious. They claim to live by the letter of G‑d's law. In fact, Raed Abdel Misk (may his name be blotted out) — the murderer who carried out the "Massacre of the Children" — was an Islamic religious scholar, whose relatives said that he had been driven to "martyrdom" by "a deep knowledge of the Koran" and that "he would have had no regrets" seeing the dozens of children in the crowded bus before he blew it up. Heaven help us; this is reminiscent of the crusades of 1096 and 1140. Once again, G‑d and religion have become a cause for the slaughter of Jewish children.

Yet, the response to the massacre by our brothers and sisters in Jerusalem could not have been more dignified. Amazingly, Bracha Toporowitch, whose three-year-old granddaughter Tehilah was massacred on Tuesday, said that she does not hate the homicide bomber. She is bolstered by her faith in G‑d and is too busy caring for wounded survivors, her daughter, Chana Nathanson, 26, and another granddaughter, Shoshana, who is only five months old.

She explained: "I don't even think for one minute I had any feelings of hatred toward the murderer. I wasn't even thinking about it. I was thinking about what we have to do within ourselves, what is the message for us. What do we want to change to become a better person? How do we reach out to people, how do we connect more closely to G‑d?"

Her granddaughter's name, she pointed out, was Tehilah, which means praise. "If people can learn even in the midst of the tragedy to thank G‑d for everything He gives us, then I think that it is the high point for the human being to reach. If people can live like that, then their whole lives will be changed, and maybe hate will disappear."

Instead of becoming a breeding ground for hate, the religious neighborhood where the bombing took place sported hastily printed posters calling for soul-searching and repentance, "especially for wrongs committed against one's fellow man." Smaller notices announced that a prayer rally would be held that afternoon at the site. Other notices asked that passers-by pray for the recovery of the wounded and for the souls of the dead.

In this past Shabbat's Torah portion we read: "For the L-rd your G‑d blesses you, as He promised you... and you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you" (Deuteronomy 15:6). Being reigned over is as much a state of mind as a state of being. By not allowing hate and the desire for revenge to consume them, by not allowing themselves to be intimidated by the cowardly and evil murderers, the people of Jerusalem are not allowing themselves to be defeated. Using this tragic event as a springboard for growth is the best type of revenge.

This is the Jewish way. We battle our adversaries — Torah law commands that "If someone comes to kill you, be quick to kill him first" — but refuse to succumb to victimhood, vengefulness and hate. It is an attitude that has kept us going throughout generations of suffering. Although the Jewish people have repeatedly been victims of oppression and injustice, we have never allowed ourselves to remain the victim. Because of this mindset the Jewish people have always been able to bounce back from trauma. Many mighty nations have come and gone but we, G‑d's people, have prevailed. The ability to respond to tragedy in this way is truly a blessing from G‑d and one that helps us to cope. By tapping in to this response we know that we shall prevail and our morally defunct and godless enemy will be defeated.