Saturday, April 30, 2011
Loss,pain and hope...
Loss, pain and hope…
We are surrounded by debris. Our state of Alabama has been struck by great forces of wind and rain. Tornadoes have demolished homes, businesses, schools, stores, emergency resources and entire neighborhoods. Life has been torn from us. Families have been stripped of their loved ones. Suffering seems without end.
On the heels of a tsunami and earthquake in Japan and a terrifying earthquake in Haiti we are left with many questions. Are we being punished for misdeeds? Is our society in need of repair? Is God calling out to us?
I am terribly undone by all the acts of destruction I see with you. Like you I watch the TV and read news on internet sources. The scope of recent loss is extreme. If acts like fire and flood happened in the Bible could they happen to us now?
I believe in God but not as a destroyer of modern life. We have many possible responses to the death and loss surrounding us. We can cry out to God in accusation, or turn our faces away from the Lord. We can hide in a closet, both literally and figuratively, until we think it is safe to emerge. Or we can extend our hands to others in love and support.
My Jewish response is to collect tzedakah and to pray. To pray means many things. I do not think prayer is always getting what I want from God. Prayer is reaching out to something bigger than myself and needing to be heard. Prayer is seeking to draw enough compassion from within me to support others when they are at their limits. Prayer is recognizing my limits and not accepting my inabilities to make a difference. Prayer is invoking sacred words offered by my ancestors in different parts of the world throughout millennia and knowing I am bound to a community. Prayer means to add my own words to the sacred chain of holy speech initiated by Sarah and Abraham. Prayer means to reach outwards and inwards simultaneously.
I ask you to pray for our fellow Alabamians. Offer your own words of hope and prayer and strength. Offer your own tzedakah and make a difference.If you know of anyone affected by the tornadoes please contact me and share their names with me. I will pray with them and offer any and all support I can.
We are collecting food for the Mobile Bay Area Food Bank. Please be generous and bring a bag of groceries to the shul. Please do your best to donate a check in any amount to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund for disaster relief.
Yes,God is calling out to us and yes our society is in need of repair. The challenge for us is to hear God's call and to aid in repairing our world.
Loss,pain and hope…remember the community Yom Hashoah service on Sunday May 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the synagogue. Non-Jewish children have created artwork and written poems and short stories which will be incorporated into this special service. You owe it to yourself and to those who cannot be here to attend.
Rabbi Steven Silberman