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“After the Death,” Rabbi Zecher’s Shabbat Awakenings

May 3, 2024 | 25 Nisan 5784

After the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they drew too close to GOD’s
presence (Lev 16:1) is the short summary in this week’s Torah portion of what happened
chapters ago in the book of Leviticus (10:1), yet it holds much power in the ability to remind us
of death, trauma, tragedy, and loss.

We are living in the middle of it.

After the death and sexual assault of Israeli women by Hamas
After the death from starvation of Gazans
After the taking of hostages into Gaza
After the death of the World Central Kitchen workers because of the mistakes of IDF
After the death of hostages taken into Gaza
After the displacement caused by war
After the displacement caused by the threat of war
After the death of so many innocents
After the loss of homes and the sense of security and safety
After the abundance of experiences of hate by Jewish college students
After the abundance of hate experienced by Muslims in America
After the rejection of generous cease fire deals
After the chants of destructive language at the encampments on campuses
After the end of free speech because of–see above
After so much death, trauma, tragedy and loss
will we ever be able to draw closer in sacred relationship with one another?

Our ability to survive and thrive as the Jewish community depends on how we approach one
another even when we disagree or understand the circumstances we are in differently. How
can we expect Israelis and Palestinians to find a path to peace when we are too quick to reject
what others have to say?

After the death of his two sons, Aaron was silent.
We will need some time but then we must figure out how to make peace bloom.
As the Israeli poet, Yehuda Amichai wrote: but doubts and love dig up the world.

Light and life can resume and we can be ready.

Shabbat Shalom! שבת שלום

I continue to value the many comments you exchange with me through these Shabbat Awakenings. Share with me what you think here. Your email goes directly to me!

Rabbi Elaine Zecher