Shabbat Greetings – 10/16/2015
Rabbi Steinhardt's Shabbat Greetings

Shabbat Greetings – 10/16/2015

peace_doveDear Friends,

The outbreak of murderous knifings and senseless violence in Israel has been another chapter of tragedy that we have witnessed for far too long. Our hearts, thoughts, prayers and hopes once again turn toward our loved ones in Israel; and to all the people who wish to live in peace and experience security, freedom and justice.

The first response must be the restoration of order and public safety. We must always allow for the protection of innocent lives. We mourn our losses together. We care for those wounded. And we do what needs to be done to fortify the lives of those so traumatized by this chapter and this experience – especially the children.

I think it’s time to fully realize that no wall or fence, no amount of oppression, and no further expansion will quell the tensions and the hostility. There are those who wish us dead, and there are those amongst us who wish them dead. And these will not be the victors. They will be wasted voices in days to come. Is there an answer? Is there a way out from the continuous cycle of violence, the impact of homelessness, and the fears that create more and more hatred and murder?

Who am I to even begin to think I have an answer? But I will share with you my hope.

I believe that there are some precursors to a possibility for change. But, first and foremost, I believe violence as a tool must be halted.

And then I search for leaders, and not leaders who can only justify their own cause. I am looking for leaders who create a vision for all people. I want to hear leaders from their side who understand the insecurity and needs of our side. I want leaders from our side who empathize with the pain and the needs of their side, and who use the language that understands their aspirations. I believe that they have the same aspirations for statehood that our people held dearly for generations, and that won’t go away. But it won’t be realized with the destruction of the state we created, it will only be realized with the acceptance of our state. All leaders must condemn incitement and the use of religion to justify violence and death, occupation and expansion. Religion must stand for life and set humanity as the priority. I think it begins with the word and with communication. That is how we began…

In the Torah this week, we read about the Tower of Babel. And we see that God’s presence after the flood disappears from the text, and perhaps the people’s lives, so the people build a crazy tower. It reflects their goal to show their power and it reflects their technological advancement, but it disregards the sacredness of life, as the desire to unseat the one God unfolds in their activity. There is a total breakdown in communication; building and material success becomes the focus; and the inner life is forgotten. Everyone loses…

So I enter this Shabbat with a heavy heart as I search for and pray for peace. Oseh shalom bimromav Hu yaaseh shalom, aleinui v’al kol Yisrael…

Shabbat Shalom and see you in shul,
Rabbi David Steinhardt


Join the B’nai Torah Pastoral Care Committee

We know that the synagogue does many different things and serves many different people. One of the core missions of the synagogue is to be responsive to individuals and families in times of need, sickness or death.

We have a group of people that make up a committee that serves to visit the sick when appropriate, and the elderly when needed. There are people in the congregation who can be called upon to visit a mourning family at their time of loss.

Over the years, our community has done this very well and, in so doing, have fulfilled an important mitzvah. I invite you to be a part of this group, the pastoral committee. Would you lend your name and give us time if needed?

Please contact Elaine at 392-8566 or elaine.siegell@bnai-torah.org and we will follow up with times for a meeting and training.

This column is dedicated to the memory of Rubin Shafran z”l