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Imagining our Enemies as Babies

08/04/2021 02:33:31 PM


When civil rights protesters in the 1960’s prepared for the inevitable confrontations that would come from marching the streets of southern towns, sitting at lunch counters, using water fountains, etc., they were taught that in the moment of conflict, they should envision their opponents as the babies they once were – innocent and free of the instilled hate borne out of others’ irrational vengeance.  Not only were they taught physical, non-violent acts of protest, but the cognitive means by which they could refrain from buying into the same hate, and becoming lost in the other’s merciless regard for them.  For some, active or even passive confrontation is easy, but at what point does our anger and resentment undermine our own soulfulness?

This is one of the themes that runs through the High Holy Days.  How do we live in a multi-colored world, in which we ourselves are uniquely divine reflections of creation, and everybody else is too?  How do we find self-expression that is abundant and energizing, but that still makes room for everyone else to do the same?  For some, the tendency is to shrink, presuming that their own tzelem (Image of God) isn’t as worthy of expression as the many around them. For others, it is only theirs and perhaps the expressions of their “people,” that should enjoy the beauty of existence.  But our tradition teaches us on Rosh Hashanah, two very powerful lessons.  The first is Hayom harat haolam, Today, each and every day, potentially gives birth to a new world that didn’t exist until we willed it with our shift in action.  The second is that with this world, we are reminded that all human beings come from one source.  Why?  As the Rabbi teach, so that no one can say that my beginnings are more auspicious than yours.

If you’ve ever wondered if Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are relevant to your life, the answer is, bien sur! (of course!)  To learn more, please join Rabbi Laura Sheinkopf, me and others for “Texting,” a short course in the key texts, ideas and practices of the High Holy days, and the ways in which they are meant to raise up, as well as deepen, our humanness. 

“Texting” begins this Sunday evening at 7 pm via zoom.  There are 4 really easy, user-friendly ways to participate.

  • Join Rabbi Laura Sheinkopf and me for a 45 minute text study on a key text of the High Holy Days. Each week during the month of Elul, we’ll look at a different one.  (August 8, 15, 22 and 29 at 7pm – join us for 1, 2, 3 or all 4!)
  • If you can’t join us on Sunday night(s), check out our “10 minutes of Text” VLOG, available on Monday mornings, each with Rabbi Laura’s and my review of the text study, and its importance for the days ahead. 
  • Reply in writing to our prompts.  Each week, we will offer writing prompts to which we invite your thoughts.  We might even share some of them during the High Holy Days (only with your permission of course!)
  • Check us out a few times a week as we share salient stories, thoughts or ideas via Instagram (@congregationshmakoleinu).

Click HERE to sign up for “Texting” and don’t forget to check out our new High Holy Day website pages and register there as well!

Wed, August 17 2022 20 Av 5782