Last week I finished sitting shiva, the seven day mourning period observed after an immediate relative has passed away. My mother had unexpectedly died at the age of 73.
One of our central Jewish prayers, the Shema, begins with the words,
Shema Yisroel, Ado-nai Elo-heinu, Ado-nai Echad.
Hear O Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One. (The translation looses the feel of the words.)
What does it mean 'One'?
That we don't have multiple gods?
Yes, that is what it means. But we can also look deeper.
Everything that happens comes from G-d, the good, the perceived bad and ugly. Judaism does not say that only good comes from G-d and anything else must come from a separate source - like the Devil or Satan. It doesn't work like that. Everything comes from G-d, there are no challenges to His power. We believe that somehow in the scheme of things, everything is good whether we understand it or not.
When we see something we don't like, like a parent's funeral, it is hard to see any good in it. We say a bracha (blessing) on an occasion like this: Baruch Dayan HaEmes, Blessed is the True Judge. At the moment of pain, we are unable to see the good (G-d doesn't expect us to) - but we are able to recognize that there is a Truth that we, as limited beings, cannot see, and that G-d is that ultimate Judge who knows all.
That is the understanding of the Oneness of G-d that should be taken from these occasions -- everything comes from Him. There is nothing else.
I want to thank everyone who has my family in their prayers. Your good thoughts are certainly appreciated and mean a lot to me.