Progressive Revival

Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center sent out this message about the Israeli bombing of Gaza.

Today the starkest choice of values and visions of the future was laid before the Jewish people throughout the world.

On the one hand, Jews throughout the world were reading in synagogue the Prophetic vision of Zechariah, no stranger to exile and humiliation, writing from the midst of the Babylonian Captivity 2500 years ago   and looking forward to the rebuilding of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and the relighting of its Menorah — both of which had been destroyed by Babylonian militarism.  

This rebuilding and relighting, Zechariah proclaimed, must be achieved not by mobilizing might and power against Babylonia but by drawing on the Infinite Spirit, God’s power.   A vision reinforced by the Rabbis who chose the passage to be read on the holy day that might easily fall into a celebration of the military might and power of the Maccabees.

On the other hand  —  on the very same day!! — at least 225 Palestinians were killed by Israeli bombs in one more attempt to quell by might and power the use of violence  (on a much smaller scale) by Hamas, in what Hamas sees as itself a retaliation against the Israeli blockade and semi-starvation of the people of Gaza.

There is plenty to bewail and plenty to examine in the details of this crossroads-moment in the history between our two Families of Abraham. Tonight  (Saturday night) I cannot gather the strength to do this — having just, after  a pleasant Shabbat of synagogue and family dreidling, discovered this crushing news.  We will look more deeeply together into these choices, in the next several days.

But what I can do now is simply ask us all to face the choices, to experience the deadly vertigo of choice between these choices.

A hard but necessary moment to send you the blessings of shalom, salaam, peace.  —  Arthur

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