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Rabbi's Week In Review- July 28, 2020

07/28/2020 05:40:55 PM


Among the Jewish values of which I am particularly proud is the idea of Machloket L’Sheim Shamayim — argument for the sake of heaven (found in our MIshnah in Pirkei Avot 5:17).  The idea that we need disagreement in order to learn leads us to not just tolerate dissent but welcome dissent.  

In order to understand what is expected of us as Jews and to act in accordance with G-d’s will, we study and challenge one another. We test our thoughts and beliefs in the open marketplace of ideas.

With that in mind, the present action of federal law enforcement acting in secret, without any discernible identification, to squash rightful protest is an occurrence we should find particularly troublesome. When federal agents beat Navy veteran Christopher David in Portland, Oregon, who was committing no crime nor committing any violent act, none of us is safe. 

As Americans, we treasure the right to free speech, enumerated in the First Amendment of our Constitution. When that right is threatened by also violating our right against unreasonable seizure in the Fourth Amendment, and our right to due process in the Fifth Amendment, we are truly living in scary times.  

These recent actions are neither in comportment with our most basic constitutional rights nor our Jewish value of Machloket L’Sheim Shamayim. Without dissent, our democracy is lost.  Without including voices of dissent, we cannot lay claim to greater understanding, the overarching goal of Machloket L’Sheim Shamayim.  

We face a crucial time in our history. In this year of 5780 and in the week in which we observe the solemn day of Tisha B’Av, the date on which we remember centuries of persecution and suffering, we know as well as anyone that when democracy is lost — when authoritarianism reigns — we are in trouble.  

We must do all we can as Americans to preserve our democratic rights and ideals. As Jews, we know that much is riding on the outcome.

Wed, September 23 2020 5 Tishrei 5781