What do we read when there are no good words? As I thought about the text to teach following the tragedy at Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, my mind fixed on the nine murdered. Murdered in their church, a holy sanctuary of God.
Hineh mah tov umah na'im shevet achim gam yachad!
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for people to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
Let me start by being very clear: I don’t yearn for a return to sacrificial rites, holy priests, or incense-burning in the Temple. I don’t miss the Temple itself, nor is the Western Wall a particular source of inspiration or empowerment for me.
The expulsion of the Jews from Spain on July 31, 1492, occurred on the same day as the destruction of the first and second Jerusalem Temples.
On this holiday weekend, due to a confluence of special days — Independence Day, the 17th of Tammuz and Shabbat — American Jews will have the opportunity to both celebrate our religious freedom and retrace what we did when it was threatened.
We who have become cynical,
Whom life has raised its tough first
Of despair and
Disappointment and heartache
We who have learned to protect our souls
And toughen our hearts
To avoid more anguish