This Shabbat we read about radical change in Parashat Lech Lecha (Genesis 12-17). Abram and Sarai leave the life they knew to follow their faith to Canaan. They arrive full of blessings in their hearts but encounter famine and the absence of God’s voice. Taking matters in their own hands, Abram brings his family and followers to Egypt for a temporary stay before returning to Canaan.
What is the message? Even at the majestic outset of our Jewish journey with God’s pronouncing “Go forth”, there was uncertainty. The path forward for Abram and Sarai meandered toward the purpose of Judaism, a way of life filled with love and justice.
On this Shabbat, we are reflecting on our country and our future. Whether we voted for Trump and for change or for Clinton or for another candidate, my assumption is that all of us at Mount Zion are united in standing against some of the messages candidate Trump either said or allowed to be said. Hateful words that were spoken are creating uncertainty and fear for too many Americans. Hateful words are giving license to fringe groups to act on those words. There are real concerns for safety and yet the clear majority of us including many who voted for Trump, do not stand for hate. We must not make the situation more than it is, nor less than it is. In the coming months, we will all need to stand together and for each other, healing divides, and embracing our values. May we enter this Shabbat in a spirit of peace, knowing that it is in our hands to do so.
Adam Stock Spilker, Rabbi