- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On June 28, 2019
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, our weekly reflection as we make our way to Shabbat. This week marks the end of the third year of a total of 156 Shabbat Awakenings offered so far. Next Shabbat, we begin the fourth cycle anew.
They had traveled for 40 days, traversing the land of great promise, as scouts to assess the environment. These former slaves had witnessed miracles, crossed the sea and stood at the foot of Sinai. They freely complained and worried about their food and well-being in the midst of the wilderness. Finally, they arrived to the border, made their way across, and set upon themselves the task described by Moses to discover:
Are the people who dwell in it strong or weak, few or many?
Is the country in which they dwell good or bad?
Are the towns they are in open or fortified?
Is the soil rich or poor?
Is it wooded or not?
And take pains to bring back some of the fruit of the land. (Numbers 13: 17-20)
When they returned, their hearts were filled with fear. They spoke in hyperbole, assessing the people within the land as giants and they as mere grasshoppers. They planted within the rest of the community dread and pessimism. Among the 12 who scouted the land, ten interpreted the experience as frightening and impossible. Fortunately, they had two leaders who lifted up another perspective. Caleb tried to calm the people by assuring them that they had the capacity to enter the land and find success, “we shall surely overcome it.” (13:30)
In our day, we confront terror at the border yet again. This time, those seeking a better life in the land they view and hope will be of great promise receive them with chain linked detention areas, separation of families, and squalor conditions. This time, instead of crossing the Jordan to reach the other side in safety, people like Oscar Alberto and his 23 month old daughter were swept up by the Rio Grande and washed ashore on the other side limp and lifeless. For sure, this kind of immigration is complicated and full of treacherous challenges. And yet, do we really need to greet them with gigantic inhumanity and a loss of dignity that makes them feel as small as an insect?
I would hope we could be better than that. We must be better than this. We need leaders who assess this situation and do not respond with dread and pessimism. We need leaders who will offer optimism with an understanding that what makes our country just and moral is our respect for each human being. “Surely, we can overcome this” is what we want and need to hear.
The final story has not yet been written. Let us give voice to a higher expectation of behavior of our own government. See the latest edition of TI’s Just News for ways you can help.
We are outside tonight. Come sit in our beautiful garden surrounded by its beauty as we welcome Shabbat at 6:00 p.m. If you are unable to join us, please live stream HERE.
Study Torah in the morning starts at 9:00 a.m. with a short service and Torah reading followed by a lively discussion.
Connect with me HERE. How do you see what happened to the scouts in light of what is happening at the southern border? I look forward to engaging with you.