Our sages say that the month of Cheshvan is called Marcheshvan [bitter] because it has no holidays. But, I think it is more than that. This month has seen its share of bitter experiences.
Rachel Imeinu's yahrtzeit is 11 Marcheshvan. The Great Flood of Noah's time began on 17 Marcheshvan. Rabbi Meir Kahane was murdered also on 18 Marcheshvan just like these Jews in Pittsburgh. The 18th - chai - life! And the name of the synagogue - "Tree of Life." Death in a time and place linked with life. What does it mean? The Diaspora can no longer sustain Jewish life. Through massive assimilation, it has become another Jewish mass grave.
In all our minds, the number eleven will forever be linked with the tragedy of the 9/11 terror attack on America. I believe it was Rabbi Winston who first pointed out that the World Trade Center Towers, also known simply as the Twins, themselves made an "11."
[See HERE for more on the significance of the number 11.]
The most famous "twins" in Judaism are Eisav and Ya'aqov. HKB"H gave Ya'aqov a new name - Yisrael - when he successfully overcame the struggle with Eisav's ministering angel, the Satan himself. When our forefather acts like Eisav's twin, he is called Ya'aqov, when he rises up to the level of Yisrael, he is no longer Eisav's "twin."
The Twin Towers are but dust now and in their place a single proud and powerful tower stands - the Freedom Tower. No longer two, but ONE.
"One New Man" who in the name of "Freedom" has cast off the Yoke of Heaven.
Just like Ya'aqov did not earn the name Yisrael until he crossed back over into Eretz Yisrael, so the Jews of the Diaspora, particularly the West, will remain Ya'aqov, the twin of Eisav, until they return within the borders of the Holy Land where Yisrael resides.
And like the Freedom Tower that has replaced the Twins, so the Jews of the Diaspora will become so assimilated as to be indistinguishable as a separate entity.
Events like what just happened in Pittsburgh come for one reason only - to remind the Jew that he must rise above the level of Ya'aqov, separate himself from Eisav, and become worthy of the name Yisrael by returning to the Land of Yisrael.
Baruch Dayan Emet!