- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On July 14, 2017
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
This week, many members of Boston’s interfaith community gathered for the rededication of the Holocaust Memorial. One of its panes had been shattered by a young man with mental health issues. I offered this blessing and I share it with you here:
In ancient days, the Israelites carried the Ark of the Covenant through the wilderness to the land of great Promise. They marched with it at their center, protective and protecting the very soul of the people, the source of their strength.
Its contents held the Divine words of the Torah, a way to view the world and one another with care and kindness: To love the other as one loves oneself and to remember the feeling of being a stranger as a summoning of empathy for every person.
The ark contained something else equally as important. Remember when Moses had been up on the mountain receiving those words? Down below, the people–waiting, waiting, waiting…panicked! Would their leader return? They didn’t know so they built a golden calf to worship instead. Moses came down the mountain with sacred light surrounding him, but the sight of the golden calf unnerved him. He took those tablets engraved by the Divine and smashed them.
But, what happened to them? They didn’t disintegrate or disappear. Jewish tradition teaches that they also were placed in the Ark of the Covenant along with the ones Moses would later receive when he ascended the mountain again.
The whole Torah and the broken ones were safeguarded in the ark together. From this, the people found strength.
On this day of remembering and repair, we, too, find strength and courage.
Our brokenness is intermixed with that which makes us whole.
The vulnerability of life and the fragility even of this magnificent structure of Boston’s Holocaust Memorial adorn and remind our city of the worst in humanity, but also of humanity’s best.
We know there is much to repair in addition to the shattered glass. We witness the brokenness of hunger, of hatred, of those who feel lost and forgotten.
These times and this moment call upon all us to shine divine light into every dark corner to lift up the fallen, to heal the sick, to free the captive, and to bring faith and courage and strength so that we walk together, making our way toward a world redeemed, with God’s help and each other’s.
Our present and our future depend on it.