November 3, 2012
I am going to try to say this carefully - these thoughts came to me when we read the Prayer for our Country this morning.
I pray that every citizen who wants to vote will have a chance to vote and that his or her vote will count.
I pray that, when the election is over, winners and losers will be able to even begin to strive to live out the motto on the Great Seal of the United States - E Pluribus, Unum - Out of Many, One. Our diversity of ideas can make us stronger, but it will take some work to get to that point. For all of our sakes, let's hope we still can get there.
November 5, 2012
In preparing for my Pirket Avot - Sayings of the Sages - class tonight at Temple, I came across a famous statement that certainly has implications for the American voter tomorrow....
If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, what am I?
If not now, when?
Thank you, Hillel, for your all-purpose declaration!
November 6, 2012
I woke up this morning thinking about the polarization in our country, the passionate feelings that sometimes keep us from recognizing our highest shared values. Some of those values are expressed in one of my favorite readings from the Ref orm prayerbook, Mishkan T'filah, which I set to music this afternoon as election day was winding down. May all of us blessed with unity, wholeness, freedom and peace. Based on a reading from the Mishkan T'filah prayerbook
May we gain wisdom in our lives
overflowing like a river with understanding
Loved, each of us, for the peace we bring to others
May our deeds exceed our speech
And may we never lift up our hand
but to conquer fear and doubt and despair
V'neemar v'hayah adonai l'melech al kol ha-aretz
Bayom hahu yihiyeh adonai echad ush'mo echad
(Thus it has been said, the Eternal One will be Sovereign over all the earth
On that day, the Eternal will be One, and God's name will be one).
Rise up like the sun, O God, over all humanity
Cause light to go forth over all the lands between the seas
And light up the universe with the joy of wholeness, of freedom, and of peace. V'ne-emar.....
Here is the link to a multi-track recording:
Below is the YouTube Video...
November 7, 2012
I got in my car this morning to go buy the morning newspaper to see what happened in local elections, having been well-schooled in the national results. As I started on my short drive, the words of a central declaration from Deuteronomy about God's oneness came to mind. The first and last word of Deuteronomy Chapter 6 verse 4 leaped to prominence:
SH'MA - Hear/truly listen - to yourself and to o thers
ECHAD - One - unity, oneness, interconnection
Communication - both expressing ourselves AND listening, whether we agree or disagree, is priceless because it necessarily creates interconnection.
Perhaps there is a path that we can tread together, on which we can speak, and listen, and do it over and over, until we find an unexpected place of intersection of ideas and commonality in feelings and objectives.
That is my hope today.