In the portion of Emor, we read about the care of newborn animals. “When an ox, a sheep or a goat is born, for seven days it should remain under its mother’s care. From the eighth day and on, it will be acceptable as a sacrifice, a fire offering to G‑d.”

Later, in the same paragraph, the Torah commands us, “And you should not desecrate My Holy Name, that I may be sanctified amongst the children of Israel.”

What could possibly be the connection that brings these two laws together?

On a deeper level, the newborn animals are symbolic of our emotions, which our intellect—the mother—gives birth to. Rather than allowing our emotions free reign, “seven days it should remain under its mother’s care.” Allow your mind time to develop the emotion before expressing it.

This is especially important when responding to things that are out of our control—things that clearly come directly from G‑d, especially when they are impossible to comprehend. Here, we need to allow our thoughts to process the notion that G‑d knows why He does these things. Our job is to find a way to sanctify G‑d through these events, so that it changes us in a positive way.

It was a year ago during the week of Parshat Emor that G‑d took Chaya Spalter, a very special young girl, from this world. When I heard the news, I felt broken. My first thought was: “My heart is broken, I just can’t understand. I don’t want to understand. Why, G‑d, do you continually break us?”

We became the Spalters’ neighbors three years ago. I would see Chaya smiling, despite her pain and suffering, as she battled cancer, and it gave me strength. Her parents’ ability to be positive, with all they were going through, helped me stay positive, too.

On Shabbat, things are more difficult for me. Because I don’t use my eye-gaze computer and am unable to move or speak, it can often become a long, dull day.

On Shabbat afternoons, Chaya would visit my daughters and other girls in our building. They would rehearse songs and create dances to go with them. She would then bring them to my room and entertain me.

I am trying to find some meaning in this tragedy. If somehow we could learn to be more like Chaya—good, happy, strong, loving toward G‑d, positive, fearless, kind and beautiful, within and without—then perhaps then we can turn the pain into a sanctification of G‑d’s name.

May we merit the coming of Moshiach and end this bitter exile.

Dedicated to the memory of Chaya Spalter. May you “entertain” us again very soon.