Since the horrifying shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh there has been an increased emphasis on ensuring our places of worship are properly secured – security guards, new locks and alarms, and strong gates. I am reminded of what happened in Europe 80 years ago and how we cannot let such a thing happen again. Indeed, we will stand strong and arm ourselves and protect ourselves against those who wish to do us harm. After all, we live in America and we have rights!

This is the overwhelming sentiment I’ve seen this past week and yes, the need to protect ourselves is essential. But it’s a mistake to only focus on physical security.

Anti-Semitism is as old as the Jewish nation itself. Throughout history the Jewish people has endured countless acts of persecution, exile and murder. And while the Pittsburgh massacre was indeed the deadliest attack on Jews in American history, it was hardly the first attack on Jews. Those who have killed Jews in the past would have gladly caused a death toll similar to that of the Tree of Life Synagogue if they had the ability to do so. Our history shows us that we’ve never been completely safe.

Putting the overwhelming emphasis on security measures as our response (despite its importance and great necessity) ignores examining the underlying reasons and lessons regarding anti-Semitism. We do not sit and mourn the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem because we did not have the weapons to protect it.

Anti-Semitism is a reminder to Jews as individuals, as communities, and as a nation to live up to our potential as Jews, to strengthen our commitment to the unique mission of the Jewish people, with ever-increasing pride and passion.

The more we live a Jewish life, the more we bring the presence of God into this world, making it a holier, safer, ideal place. We want to diminish or even halt anti-Semitism? Yes, we need to hire that security guard, but we also need to be the best possible Jews we can be. We need to study and embody Jewish values and be ambassadors in sanctifying God’s name in how we talk and behave. We need to be the light.

Hillel taught (Shabbos 31a) that the entire Torah is “that which is hateful to you, do not do to another” – that is the entire Torah, everything else is just explanation of that ideal. Our central response to anti-Semitism is to bring God into the world by embodying what the Torah is all about: love and sanctity.

There will always be detractors and those who hate us despite the good we may do; that is unfortunately part of the Jewish reality. So yes, it is important to have security and to be physically prepared for any situation, God forbid. That is certainly a component in acting responsibly. But the deeper battle against what happened in Pittsburgh is not fought with guns and locks; it is a spiritual battle fought with Godliness and love.

It has been heartwarming to see Jews from all walks of life going to shul following the shooting, to show support and solidarity with those murdered and to make the statement that “we are proud to be Jewish.” But we cannot stop there. Each of us needs to look inside, re-evaluate and commit to making a lasting change that will propel us further along our journey towards being the best Jew we can be. That will help to protect us just as much, if not more, than any guns ever could.