Dear B’nai Horin Community,
As we struggle to comprehend and absorb the results of our national election, we are faced with challenges that none of us could have imagined even a week ago.
Regardless of for whom you voted, whether you are feeling celebratory or despairing, this is the time for us to dig deep, hold on, rise up and move forward.
In the United States of America, we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all human beings are created equal – that is the premise that we were founded upon.
In our Jewish tradition, we are instructed to hold in our hearts the truth that every human being is created b’tselem elohim – in the image of God, of the Source of Life – that is the premise that we are founded upon.
In the moments when we cannot feel connected to these truths, when our hearts feel torn, when we feel betrayed, frightened, disparaged, defeated, we remember our Shema prayer.
And in the moments when our hearts are full, when we feel triumphant, victorious, justified and heartened, we also remember our Shema prayer.
These six words are “the watchword of our faith” because they tell us everything we need to know to be both hopeful in a time of loss and humble in a time of winning.
“Shema yisrael, adonai eloheynu, adonai echad”
Shema: Listen!! Pay attention! This is important! Listen with your ears, with your heart, with your soul. There is something here for you.
Yisrael: All of you who are struggling – with beings both human and divine – struggling in your relationships with people and with God – and this means EVERYONE – there is NO ONE who is not struggling.
Adonai Eloheynu: There is a force here that is YOURS, that is OURS, that is here for all, a force that is beyond imaging, or naming, or envisioning, but is simply here – always and ever and here no matter what.
Adonai Echad: That force that is ever-present connects all of us, so that we KNOW that we are all one – that every molecule in the universe came from a single beginning, an initial spark, and it burns in each of us, and connects us in the most profound way.
And since that is the basis of what we believe, we can begin to search out paths to oneness, to wholeness, to understanding, to compassion, to justice and to peace.
And we can do it together.
We MUST do it together.
We must stand with all of our brothers and sisters who we refuse to allow to be marginalized, maligned, excluded or ignored.
We must stand for the integrity of our planet, for the oceans and rivers and mountains and valleys, for the purity of the air that we breathe and the water that we drink.
We must stand for the health and preservation of the multitude of plants and animals, each of whom contribute to our precious eco-system.
We must stand for the rights of women and men to be in control of their own bodies, whether in the moments of embryonic life or of impending death or any moment in between.
We must stand for the dignity of those who do not have the power or the opportunity or the ability to stand up for themselves.
The parsha for this Shabbat is Lech Lecha, when Abraham is directed to leave the place that he knows, and go to a place he will be shown, a place that he does not yet know.
We are all leaving about to leave a place that we have known, and we begin a journey to a new place, a place that we do not yet know.
Abraham later stands up to God, asking “Shouldn’t the judge of the whole world do justly?, reminding us that we must always stand up for justice for all people and for all life on our planet, that we must always stand and speak truth to power.
May we be guided in strength, in peace and in love. May we each be a blessing, as we bring our blessings to this world.
And finally, we remember Leonard Cohen, may his music and his message always be a blessing in our lives. Halleluyah!
Please join us this Shabbat for a soulful and healing service.
Rabbi Laura and Rabbi Stan
And some words of wisdom and healing from Rabbi Stan’s son Jules:
Right about now, we’re all probably feeling so many things.
A raging storm of chaos, difficult to acknowledge – let alone discern.
And we can’t NOT feel these things. It’s natural. Part of the process – Democratic, and human.
Apart from my children, I feel these things two-fold, as I grapple with my own thoughts and emotions, and sense theirs powerfully from afar.
So this is what I want for them, especially.
And for everyone gathered in the dark…
Feel them. Embrace them. Understand them.
And then release them.
So that they may become something else entirely.
Let your sadness soon give way to compassion – for yourself and others.
Let your fears dissolve to pride – in the ideals you share and seek.
Let your weakness fall to strength – inside yourself, and in numbers.
Let your worry build to resolve – in your spirit and your purpose.
Let your confusion lead to focus – in your thoughts and your pursuits.
And let any isolation and apathy stir you deeper into action – into the breach of self-discovery, closer to community, and further towards righteousness.
Let all of our differences be overwhelmed by our togetherness.
Let each of us create a spark of light to help guide the way.
For in this time of tempest, we must – all of us – find the rhythm in the chaos.
And feel its steady drum beat.
And take up this march.
Holding fast to each other.
Step by step into the now.
And onward, into the future we must create for ourselves, and this enduring world we share.