- Posted by tisrael
- On March 23, 2018
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
Some of our most passionate Biblical personalities began their “careers” with little or no direction. Abraham received the call to go forward. We don’t even know if he had the land of Canaan on his life itinerary. The prophet Deborah (from the Book of Judges) thought she would be spending her days judging under a palm tree until God beckoned her to summon Barak to lead the Israelites into battle against King Jabin of Canaan. At least both Deborah and Barak get to sing a magnificent song of victory. It is Moses, however, the prophet and leader, who captures our attention, as we are one week away from Passover and the Seder.
What might passion have to do with the story of our redemption?
We know Moses’ story, how his mother sent him down the river in a basket to ensure his survival from Pharaoh’s evil decree to murder all Israelite baby boys. We breathe a sigh of relief when the daughter of Pharaoh defied her father and brought this baby to grow up in a house of privilege and shelter from the suffering beyond the walls of the palace. Yet, Moses could not escape his destiny and responded with an unfettered passionate rage when he witnessed cruelty by the taskmaster on an Israelite slave and killed that very taskmaster in front of those in bondage. We follow Moses into Midian, to his marriage, and to the bush that burns but is not consumed. There, Moses received the commission, but the fire doesn’t yet burn in his belly. “I can’t,” he says. “I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” He encouraged God to choose someone else! (Exodus 4:12-13) But, the voice, The Voice, gnawed at him and got inside his head. He could no longer remove himself from his fated destiny. With each experience, his passion grew stronger. Moses began to embrace it so that it drove him forward.
Redemption doesn’t happen to us. We happen upon redemption. We get to choose whether it wells up inside like a spark turning into a flame or it fizzles and dies like a fire without oxygen.
Sometimes circumstances place us in a prophetic passionate position. The students of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have shown us the power of passion. They hadn’t planned to sign up for this modern form of redemption, but they are leading us through a wall of water. Passion is the fuel for the engine of justice and righteousness that propels them forward. As hundreds of teenagers and younger adults prepare to gather for the March for Our Lives tomorrow, we are witness to the flames of passion, and inspired by it, too.
Next week, we will sit around our Seder tables and retell the story of the trajectory from degradation to dignity. This week, however, some of that story is taking place before our very eyes. I pray the passion of these students leads us into a promised land of safety and peaceful existence with an impact of Biblical proportions.
We gather tonight for Qabbalat Shabbat at 6:00 p.m. Live stream HERE. Torah study begins at 9:00 a.m. with a short service followed by a lively Torah discussion.
I welcome your comments and reflections HERE.