Remember. . .


What a week. . . What timing for remembrance. . .


As earlier this week we paused to remember the Holocaust on Yom HaShoah, I couldn’t help but think about its perfect timing in these days of unrest centered on the very topic of anti-Semitism.  Our collective memory of such a seemingly unthinkable event as the allowance of the killing of six million Jews was jarred all the more as we are able to see how insidiously such hatred can reappear even in these days. As President Biden so meaningfully stated in his address on this topic, we must not surrender our future to the horrors of the past by succumbing to hatred of the other.


In these times it takes immense courage to stand up for the Jewish people. The situation in Israel has conflated the conversations around our people allowing some to be able to blame Jews generally for what is happening in the Middle East and in doing so to fan the flame of anti-Semitism. As the President states, what we are experiencing is the ability of hate to be exposed, a hate that is often in hiding but not always able to bubble blatantly to the surface as we are experiencing in these days.


I am not discussing politics or Israeli strategies. What I am discussing is the dangers of allowing hate to overcome love.


So much has caused societal disequilibrium in the recent past – COVID, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, devastating weather events – and now unrest in the Middle East at an escalated level not seen in decades, perhaps even worse given the international implications. Yet every one of those disturbing events has given rise to opportunities for the healing power of love. And it is power.


In every crisis, war, catastrophic destruction, the stories of people helping people typically far outnumber accounts of hate and destruction. We are just not told of all of them for they don’t make juicy headlines, but rather, a handful make the tack-on “human interest” stories reported now and then. Acts of heroism and self sacrifice, the giving of financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual support abound. Even during the Holocaust, the everyday heroic people who saved Jews at the risk of their own lives are uncountable. People we know, perhaps some of you, have worked alongside those whose homes have been destroyed by flood, fire, and storm.


In many ways we can feel helpless. Yet in more ways we are empowered to up our involvement in these times that can be perceived as hopeless. Perhaps they are not. Perhaps they can incite us to love even harder, to help and serve even more, to not be complacent but to be reminded that the voices of love, tolerance, justice, and perseverance need to be heard now more than ever before, as do the voices of prayer.


Most of us can’t fly to Israel, or dialogue with protesters but we can contribute our time and resources to local organizations that are on the front lines for just causes. Every act of lovingkindness that we do brings light into this world on whatever front we are able to address – feeding and clothing the needy, teaching English as a second language, tutoring a child struggling with schoolwork, walking an elderly person across the road, calling a person who lives alone, smiling to a passerby – the ways are countless to share His love with another.


When we live our lives with the mindset of serving/loving others, in the smallest of ways to the grandest by those able to do so, the paradigm for how we perceive helplessness/hopelessness can truly shift. Each of us doing our part, whether small or large, together creates an environment powered by love rather than hate. As the paradigm shifts, the voice of evil truly can be silenced. That is the silence we seek rather than one the result of complacency or defeatism.


We are able to be the guardians of peace, the voices against hate. The evil one really has no power here unless we let him in. I have no doubt God’s love will always win, even if suffering is part of the journey. Rather than be discouraged, we are reminded all the more to fight for love, to fight to love, to fight to share His Love through the choices we make in these very days.


May we work toward a


Shabbat shalom.



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