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Nachamu Nachamu Ami - Take Comfort O  My People

10/28/2018 09:53:47 PM


As the prophetic words go, “Nachamu, Nachamu Ami,” “Comfort, O Take comfort, my people.” May comfort and resolve and bravery and courage arise from these horrific days of hate. The idea of someone entering our sacred spaces and profaning them in the most grotesque of ways is truly impossible to imagine, except that now and truly, in days before now, it isn’t and it wasn’t. I am at a loss for words but not for action. Now is the time to act, to rise up, to make sure our people know that Am Yisrael Chai, the People of Israel lives. Politics and governments can too often obstruct the good plans of good people and at times, in our day and age, it is easy to forget that we are indeed .03% of the world’s population, whose persistent existence defies all odds. Yet, here we are, still wrestling with God, the world and ourselves to seek to understand why we are still standing. This is what it means to be a part of the Jewish people. And I offer these words as a reminder to you, as much as a reminder to myself, that not only are we not deserving of the evil conspiracies of others against us, but as well, we are far more deserving than I think, we often give ourselves credit. We are our own worst critics, rarely do we let ourselves off the hook. But we are not deserving of this nor any of the spewing of hate and violence that rolls our way, far too often and in far too menacing of manners. I write this to you probably because I need it and I wish to share it. I cannot fathom the fear and the courage summoned inside Tree of Life synagogue yesterday, on Shabbat, and I dare not rest to permit its presence in our space. I believe too often we take our spiritual lives far too lightly, and our Jewish origins far too much with the grain of salt. I am not one who believes in super natural acts nor of an inherent specialness that can be found in one strain of humanity. But we are the God wrestlers - this is our namesake - Yisrael - and thus wrestle, we must.

Of the ideas and ways of living that you are certain, it is time to wrestle and discover the ways in which they fail.

Of the memories and judgments you carry of others, especially of others who look, act, speak, dress, love, walk and move through the world differently than you, it is time to wrestle because in meaningful ways, every one of us is wrong.

Of the things for which you forgive yourself but hold others accountable just the same, of the hypocrisies you embrace but use against others, of the irrationalities that lead one to claim that there is any cause for any civilian to ever have access to automatic weapons AND those that lead one to claim that the Israeli people are just a bunch of white colonialists who have undermined the will of native inhabitants are claims that will never bring peace, will only sow disharmony and will lead to a zealotry resulting in apocalyptic results. And besides, these claims are wrong.  And if we do not get a handle on this, we will be dead wrong.

Nachamu. nachamu, ami! Take comfort, O comfort, My people - in the resolve that you can indeed fix your world. You can indeed “Tikun”: your space. You can indeed alter your future. If only you recall, we recall, they recall, that ALL of us are wrong in our strong assumptions and presumptions, judgments and attacks, the places we hide and the spaces we reserve for our club members.

We must bring a salve to the deepening wounds in our society.  And it starts with us – with we Jews who, from the right and from the left, push each other farther and farther away.  Listen, wrestle, and struggle – pray, meditate and embrace – TOGETHER!  Let go of what holds you in yesterday and embrace tomorrow – this is the only path to peace – to wholeness – to unity.

Here are two important ways to begin:

  1. Houston Jewish Community Vigil – Tonight, Sunday, October 28 7:15 pm at the ERJCC Tennis Center.
  2. “Show Up for Shabbat” – There is no better way to stand against this hate but to show up and be counted at Shabbat this Friday evening.  Come to Shma Koleinu or go elsewhere – it doesn’t matter!  What matters is that you and your family and your brother or cousin or nephew or aunt - who may think Shabbat is a waste of time and religion is a an empty vase - come together.  It is the only way we tell ourselves and those who hate us that we will not hate them in return – instead we will offer love to ourselves, to our God, and to humanity until the lies that fuel hatred dissolve from our world.  Shma Koleinu will celebrate Shabbat this Friday evening beginning at 6 pm with our oneg at the Merfish Teen Center. 

Show Up and Be Counted!

Sun, December 15 2019 17 Kislev 5780