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Rabbi's Week in Review - 10/30/2023

10/30/2023 03:53:29 PM


Since Hamas’ barbaric attack on innocent Israelis October 7 and the subsequent response from Israel, I have been inundated with online requests to sign on to letters with different asks — from demanding a full cease-fire from Israel to full-throated support for whatever military action the IDF takes against Hamas in Gaza, and a number of options in between. How do we prioritize release of the hostages in the most difficult of circumstances (freeing captives being a core Jewish value)? Is there a way to eradicate Hamas without killing thousands more Palestinians? Is it reasonable to expect that we can come to any agreement with Hamas, a terrorist organization?  And, assuming Israel can somehow eradicate Hamas, what happens next?

Beyond trying to digest the unending onslaught of information, I am admittedly struggling as to what is the right response. I hold on to multiple truths. Hamas committed brutal, heartless crimes and is a continuing threat to Israel and the Jewish people. Hamas is still holding hostages (some 233 hostages at last count), and I am fearful for their future. Palestinians who had no say in the Hamas attack are suffering a horrible loss of life and a desperate living situation. 

I still do not have an answer to the ultimate question as to what is the best path forward. On Sunday, I was a guest speaker at Rainbow Mennonite Church. Its congregants were seeking some guidance as to how to respond to the situation in Israel-Palestine. As I answered their many questions, I did so without any sense of certainty. Ultimately, the best I could come up with was “pray for peace.”

If you are also uncertain, confused and overwhelmed by the widely varying opinions as to what the proper response is, know that you are not alone. Though troubling, not knowing may be the most honest response. All I can add is that whatever your perspective is on what to do next, you/we come from a place of shared humanity. We must hold on to our Jewish value of pikuach nefesh, sanctity of human life, and to what we read as part of our creation narrative in Bereishit/Genesis, that everyone is created in G-d’s image.

Mon, December 11 2023 28 Kislev 5784