Given the horror in Israel, I couldn’t wait until Thursday evening to share some thoughts and feelings. I hope they are helpful.
I, like many of you, awoke Shabbat morning to the terrifying headlines of war in Israel. It was an unprecedented surprise attack by Hamas and the foreseeable future in that area will bring so much loss in all ways imaginable. I was having trouble personally dealing with the information and came to services not feeling the joy that would normally accompany Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.
Yet when surrounded by community, and our sanctuary was filled as it was on Rosh Hashanah, I began to feel God’s Presence. We even had amazing dance with men, women, and children joining in the circle. For that time together, somehow all being in community enabled us to feel the joy of the Lord as this day was intended.
Then, this morning, again without community, I struggled reading the reports of what was happening in Israel. I especially could not believe coverage of the gunmen parading around a motionless German/Israeli young woman as they cheered “Allahu Akbar” meaning “God is Great” in Arabic, the crowd joining in the chant, a man spitting on her head. How can such merciless cruelty, such hatred, not only be so real, but also, be fueling this war?
I turned on Chagigah Radio, my Sunday morning Jewish radio show, where the DJ Hal Slifer did choose to replace the Simchat Torah selections with listener writings and song requests in light of the situation in Israel. The purpose was to share feelings and music that could help us process this terrible event. I wrote in about the need for community, for prayer, and to remember that God is with us and with Israel. Rabbis and cantors were interviewed. Great music was played.
At one point Hal stated that so many comments were coming in that he couldn’t possibly share them all. He went on to clarify that this morning’s show is not about politics and religion as some of the comments have tended to discuss. It’s to share music and its healing powers.
I totally agree with that statement. Music is a great elixir. I also understand that “Sunday morning shmoozing” should not be about politics. Yet how could such events not remind us of our need for God??? What about the wonderful musical choices that do both – that are uplifting, healing, and spiritual? After all, it’s a Jewish music show with endless possibilities for such choices.
Beautiful music was played, but I was bothered by the deliberate avoidance of any songs too “religious”. I’m not even talking about Yeshua. I’m talking about mainstream Jewish music about God. I was saddened to be reminded that so many of our Jewish brothers and sisters who would be the typical audience for a Jewish radio show are secular. So as not to offend, I guess the host made the choice he did.
As I set out on my jog with God, my true healing time, I turned on Spotify searching “Messianic Jewish Music”. I’ll share a couple songs with you and hope these selections help you just a bit through these difficult times. You are not alone. Israel is not alone. God is with us.
The first song that played “randomly” provided the reminder I needed to hear:
May the next song remind us of the work yet to do and the need for a revival:
Have a blessed day.