Take #16. Over the past two weeks, in my mind, I have been composing Musings related to the debacle in Afghanistan. Like you, I am horrified, saddened and worried by the cluelessness and callousness of President Biden and his administration. The consequences of their actions that are immediately known, along with those that will only be revealed in the future, are truly scary. My thoughts have lurched from pain to anger to frustration to fear. I have not been able to assemble them into any coherent perspective that would provide a useful vantage point worth sharing.
In its place, I would like to offer some thoughts from the Rosh HaShana prayers of only a few days ago. Many years ago at this time of year, a now defunct Jewish magazine featured what I thought was a brilliant cover. It showed the English words of one of the solemn Rosh HaShana prayers, “On Rosh HaShana it is decided …Who will live and who will die…” The words were surrounded by music notes and the words “tra la la la la.” This cover captured one of the tensions and enigmas of the holy day. It is a time of judgment when, as individuals and as nations, we face Heavenly decisions that will impact the coming year and yet, we Jews dress in our finest clothes and emerge from synagogue joyously greeting one another as we head home to eat the most delicious foods. How can one time be both so solemn and so celebratory?
One key unlocks the mystery. Rosh HaShanah is not only a time of judgment, but it is a time appointed for repentance. Each one of us can make the choice to change for the better and if enough of us do so, our society and nation’s judgment can be postponed or cancelled. There is so much cause for pessimism in the United States and around the world. The severing of life-saving links to God and His guidance has produced an abundance of immorality, hatred, decadence and decay. We’ve seen this story before and it doesn’t end well.
And yet…there are sparks of hope. You and I have limited ability to influence the White House. A few amazing people have made enormous efforts to mitigate the tragedy in Afghanistan and, while we can support them, such heroic activities are beyond the reach of most of us. On the other hand, more and more of us are being challenged personally in our schools, jobs and lives to be clear on exactly where and when we follow our God-centered moral compass rather than acquiesce to the mob. We all have immense ability to upgrade our own behavior and in doing so, to influence those around us. That call to change is the challenge all of us face and it is where rays of bright light defeat the gloom.
Month of Festivals Sale
Save $30 on all of our already low-priced Library Packs
If this isn’t your first rodeo with us, you know that there is a month of Jewish holy days in the fall. This year, they fall out in September. As always, our office and stores will be closed on those special days in accordance with Leviticus 23. We save our best sales for this time of year when we open/shut – open/shut. Choose from one of our Library Packs. Through September, you can save big on our already low-priced Library Packs.