'Don't Tell Me We Should Not Blame God'
We have to fight, but without filling our hearts with hatred.
Rosh Hashana, Day One
On Sunday I was on a panel on CNN. There was a great deal of talk about love. The Muslim cleric spoke about love. The priest spoke about love. I too spoke about love. But I also spoke about anger.
Islam, I have been counseled, means submission. Yisrael means wrestling with God. We are God wrestlers and must wrestle with this.
I am angry. I am angry at God and at human beings. I am angry at the manifold idiocies and indifference that has permitted such hatred to flourish.
Don't tell me we should not blame God since human beings did this, because even though God gave us free will and we are culpable, I also know that God fashioned our hearts and our world. Must we be angry with those who do evil? Absolutely. We must also be angry at God, for to be angry with God, as Elie Wiesel has taught us, means to be in relationship to God. I feel God in my fury and love God in my bewilderment.
I am trying to focus on my own sins, but it is hard. I know that the magnitude of others' sins does not wipe out my own, but it is hard.
We have wreaked a good deal of havoc in the world. In this time of repentance, we have much to repent for as a country, as individuals. We are not guiltless. We should not let the horror cut off our self-examination.
We are sinners, but we are not deserving of this cruelty. We are imperfect, but we are not evil. This is the face of radical evil.
And it must be fought.
Yes, it is obscene to see the plane go into the building again and again. America's obsession with the vivid image is not our best feature.
But it reminds us that we are called to mobilize our best efforts.
Why are we here? L'ovdo Uleshomro. To guard and tend the garden God has given. We have been given this remarkable corner of the cosmos. And the power to destroy it.
We know this enemy. He is the same one who blew up Sbarros in Ben Yahuda street. He is the same one who blew up the Dolphinarium and ended the lives of scores of teenagers and bereaved their parents.
The name has changed, but we know him.