Fulfilling the Divine Purpose by Rav Claudia
August 6th, 2016 | Thoughts From the Rabbis
The Shabbat before the election we read, “A Meditation on Voting From T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights”. It included the following sentences:
Open our eyes to see the image of G-d in all candidates and elected officials, and may they see the image of G-d in all citizens of the earth.
Grant us the courage to fulfill the mitzvah of loving our neighbors as ourselves, and place in our hearts the wisdom to understand those who do not share our views.
As we pray on the High Holidays, “May we become a united society, fulfilling the divine purpose with a whole heart.”
In the aftermath of the election, and as I rewrite this piece, I know how challenged I feel by this prayer. Can I truly be open to see the image of God in those who don’t share my views? Can I see the image of God in the new president-elect who ran a campaign based on bigotry, hateful rhetoric and many more disturbing platforms?.
I don’t have an answer for myself and I am sure that many of you are challenged in the same way. But as we experience the divisiveness of our country, we ought to see the ways in which we can start the process of healing to become a united society, fulfilling the divine purpose with a whole heart.
Many of us feel sadness, fear, loss and anger. We are afraid of an unknown future and how things will unfold in the coming years especially in terms of human rights, freedom, dignity of minorities, climate change and much more.
As Jews we must commit ourselves to work even harder as the values of our tradition teach us: taking care of those in need and of those most vulnerable. It is now, more than ever, when we need to work towards a society of equality. We encourage you to do this through our TBZ community; through GBIO (Greater Boston Interfaith Organization) and by organizing in our local communities.
We must stand with millions of immigrants, Muslims, people of color, LGBT people, women, people with disabilities, and everyone who is threatened by the future of our country.
The teacher of my teachers, Rabbis Marshall T. Meyer wrote:
“Judaism teaches us to look into the darkness. Surely we will find a spark that, if carefully tended, we can use to light the fire to illuminate our path. Our history teaches us that bones can revive, that in the darkness of the soul, an echo of meaning is audible. If we honestly confront our tradition, and respond with real faith and courage, our words will become meaningful, full of strength and love; our faith and courage will become contagious and the world will look for paths that will lead to a more just society; our material goods will be redistributed so that nobody suffers hunger; our petty lives will become meaningful.”
May our our faith and courage become contagious and may we be inspired to work for a just society.
I invite us to recommit ourselves right now, to continue to be informed citizens and activists, who stand up, with the courage of our convictions, for the rights and dignity of every human being.