Serious Celebration

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.


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15 thoughts on “Serious Celebration”

  1. The Rev. Dr. John Avery Palmer

    Thank You Susan; your opening remarks AGAIN very accurately reflect many of my own thoughts and feelings! My Christian faith extolls us “to be joyful always” which given the current state of our Country & World, which is unfortunately, an Extremely Difficult directive!! Therefore, I really do appreciate how you ended your article; Aloha!!!

  2. I’m touched by your post; you say much of what I’ve been thinking. What can I, one little person out here, do with all the craziness and evil pervading us. For some time I’ve felt my job, at least at this time, is to be a stabilizer. Be firm in my convictions and beliefs; not bend to the wrong ideas of others. It does my soul good to know others recognize that, too. Thank you!

  3. God knows I have a lot of work to on myself. Some times I feel like I’m in a video game. I can tell if I’m a NPC (non playable charcher) or if I’m playing in impossible mode.

  4. Dear Susan,
    Speaking as an outsider, I would argue that The American resolve not to prolongue the withdrawal saved many lives, I also believe that propping up a corrupt regime for 20 years was not sense and didn’t do US integrity any good by doing so.
    Thanks Tony

    1. Tony, I think most of us agree that there was a case to be made for withdrawal, and it certainly was worth a serious discussion. The idea of ‘nation-building’ in my mind was seriously wrong, for example. However, I think that the way that this withdrawal was done weakened the United States, betrayed people to whom promises were made, and strengthens the hand of those who despise what we think of as civilization. I don’t see that leading to a good result. Thanks for being willing to share an opposing opinion.

    2. It was accomplished so haphazard it caused so much pain to so many people and gave the United States a black eye.

  5. “We all have immense ability to upgrade our own behavior and in doing so, to influence those around us.” (Susan Lapin)
    My Christian doctrine labels myself as a sinner. This becomes a free pass to mediocrity.
    Your statement is profound because I need to shape and speak up, knowing my every word and action is being watched. My influences are being told to me by the government these days. Your statement is a good way of fighting back!

    1. We Christians in USA we NEED to get involved in politics. Jews who follow the bible would be welcome as well but unfortunately, there are not as many of them. This is why Rabbi Daniel Lapin formed the Alliance of Christians and Jews. This nation needs to return to its biblical roots!

  6. Susan, we should have never been there. But this does not excuse the debacle that has left American’s behind, throwing our troops under the bus while bending over backwards to bring Afgan refugees over here who may very well have terrorist cells infiltrated into them! There is hope! I have noticed that many Veterans have woken up and now running for office, they are pissed! Biden and crew will reap the political whirlwind next election, mark my words. They had better get their election rigging A-game on!

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