The first thing I did Friday morning was check the news. When I had gone to sleep Thursday night, there was still no word on Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg's condition. All we knew was that the Chabad emissaries in Mumbai were unconscious. There was talk of a group of Israeli commandoes who were sent for a rescue mission, but no real details. Friday morning the details were clear. Too clear. Too definitive. The couple had been murdered. A number of other still unidentified Jews in the Chabad house were killed as well. And the Holtzberg baby, two-year-old Moshe (his second birthday was this Shabbat) had been heroically rescued by his nanny, who found the little boy next to his parents, soaked in their blood.

There is no explanationThere is no explanation. There is nothing I, nor anyone, can write and say why this happened. We need to pray. We need to mourn. And we need to demand of our Creator that He put an end to this violence, to this brutality and to this exile.

And yet, we have another responsibility as well. In every situation we find ourselves, we must seek out some lesson, some meaning, something that we can hold onto, that will propel us to live even better and more meaningful lives.

We just ended of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, and this past Friday we began the month of Kislev. These two months are the two darkest months of the entire calendar year. The days are short and the nights are very long. Night, darkness, is always a symbol for galut, exile. For when we are in the dark, we cannot see what is immediately in front of us. We seem to be aimlessly searching and feeling, yet it is never clear what we find. And even if we can make out the shape, we cannot make out the details. So we know we have hit the door, but what color is it? Is it new? Old? Impressive? Decrepit? While we remain in exile, the details are always fuzzy, and more often than not, we cannot even make out the shapes or objects until we run right into them or trip over them.

According to the text Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Formation, the oldest of Jewish mystical writings, every month in the Hebrew calendar is represented by a different letter. The month of Cheshvan is represented by the letter nun, which means "the fallen one." In the text of the Ashrai prayer, which is alphabetical in its liturgy, there is a verse for every line except for the nun. This is because the nun represents the state of falling. While it is not mentioned in this text, it is considered a part of the following line, that which begins with the letter samach and the words, "somech noflim" which means "supporting the fallen ones." This is the idea that whenever one falls, whenever there is tragedy, right alongside is support. It doesn't mean that we won't fall, but when we do, someone will be there to help us back up.

Hidden within every challenge lays a miraculous opportunityThis is why the month following Cheshvan, that of Kislev, is represented by the letter samach. It is during the month of Kislev that we celebrate Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. Chanukah is referred to as chag hanisim, the holiday of miracles. The word for miracle, nes, is comprised of the two letters, the nun of the month of Cheshvan, and the samach of the month of Kislev. The letters which represent these two darkest months spell the word for miracle. There is another beautiful allusion as well. The word for challenge in Hebrew is nisayon. Yet at the root of this word is nes, miracle. This serves to show that hidden within every challenge, hidden within every test we face, lays a miraculous opportunity, a miraculous possibility.

Chanukah teaches us that when we are faced with darkness, our response must be to add light. We can spend our lives trying to fight the darkness, trying to push it away. But unfortunately, most likely it isn't going anywhere. Rather than fighting the negative head on, the alternative is to ignore it completely while illuminating our surroundings. When we add light, the darkness disappears. It is not that we pushed it away, but rather, we overtook it. The light replaces the darkness.

The Holtzbergs went out to Mumbai, India, to what many people consider the middle of nowhere on the other side of the world. Yet they went there with a specific mission. They moved there, raised their children there (they unfortunately lost their three-year-old child to a degenerative genetic disease and have another ailing child who was with his grandparents in Israel when the attack occurred), and made their lives there for the express purpose of spreading the light of Judaism to the Jews who lived or passed through their area. The Holtzbergs were lamplighters. They were the ones that illuminated the darkness and showed all Jews who came to them that they had a home to come to, a home they could consider their own, filled with light and warmth. Rivka's father said that for them a typical Shabbat meal consisted of 150-200 guests. Everyone knew that the Chabad House was home for all Jews in Mumbai.

Gavriel and Rivka's light was horrifically snubbed out. It was extinguished. Yet they leave behind not only their biological children who miraculously survived, they also leave behind all those who were fortunate enough to know them, and the rest of us, who only now are able to learn of their greatness. There is no question that we need to mourn their loss. We need to miss them and cry for them and do our utmost so that such tragedy not happen again.

Yet we need to do more. We owe it to them to do more. In the midst of this tragedy, of the falling that is happening, we began Kislev, the support for what has fallen. And we must offer that support. While we mourn, we must recognize that we are crying together. Yesterday I received emails from so many, people who have seemingly nothing in common and do not know one another, but all people who heard of the tragedy and wanted to offer their prayers, their thoughts, their concern. As a Jewish nation we prayed for their safe return. Unfortunately that prayer was not answered in the way we had hoped. Today we have a different mission, and that is to bring light back into the world, for the two wonderful lights, as well as the lights of all the other victims, which were brutally taken.

The Holtzbergs were lamplightersWe must use our sorrow to motivate action. If you are a woman, and you do not yet light Shabbat candles, start to do so in the memory of Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg and all the other victims. Rivka's parents requested that Jewish women do this special mitzvah to help bring more light into this world. Give more charity, help a person in need, find another mitzvah, another good deed you can dedicate to them. Find someone who is falling or who has fallen, and be that support. Click here to find out what you can do.

We cannot change what has happened. But we can determine how we react to this tragedy. Please think about what you can do to bring more light to this darkness. Please share below what you are doing in memory of the Mumbai victims and for Gavriel and Rivka. One day in the future, the Holtzberg children will be able to look back at this and see the impact their parents made, not only in their lives, but even in their tragic deaths.