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Rabbi's Week in Review - 10/9/2023

10/09/2023 03:45:45 PM


As I write this, my heart aches for what is occurring in Israel and Gaza. In my Erev Yom Kippur sermon, I spoke critically of the present Netanyahu government. I also spoke critically of Hamas and Hezbollah — their singular goal of driving Israel into the sea with little regard for Pikuach Nefesh, the sanctity of human life.  

What Hamas started on Shabbat/Shemini Atzeret-Simchat Torah (with Hezbollah beginning to join in on Israel’s northern front) will lead to the loss of thousands of lives, innocent lives of both Israelis and Palestinians. Peace and justice seem further and further away from our grasp. In the meantime, families’ lives will be inextricably altered as they mourn this incalculable loss.

While we are in a moment (and that moment is far from passing) of heartache and fear, we must simultaneously hold on to multiple truths. The immediate truth is the loss of life, the injured and the terrorized Israelis, both citizens and soldiers. The other truth is that, in addition to the callous and evil foisted on innocents on all sides by Hamas, there is an extreme supremacist government of Netanyahu that, in focusing on abusing the rights of Palestinians in the West Bank as well as progressive Israelis and Israeli Arabs, has for years ignored and left unprotected progressive Jews in kibbutzim in southern Israel who came under attack during the Shabbat/Shemini Atzeret-Simchat Torah celebration this past weekend. There is also the truth that the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians will not be solved by ignoring Palestinians or by a military solution.

While there no doubt will come a time when there will be political assessments and finger-pointing as to what is apparently a glaring security and intelligence failure, let us not now lose sight of the suffering that has and will continue. And as the pundits do what they do, let our roles be ones of Rodfei Shalom, pursuers of peace.  

As my heart aches at the suffering, it is that same heart that yearns for peace. May that be G-d’s Will.

Mon, July 15 2024 9 Tammuz 5784