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Prayer for our Country

01/07/2021 12:16:40 PM

Jan7

 

Greetings Friends,

The Babylonian Talmud (Sota 11a) provides a fascinating backstory, relevant to the upcoming Torah Portion and unfortunately to our times.

א"ר חייא בר אבא א"ר סימאי:
שלשה היו באותה עצה - בלעם ואיוב ויתרו.
בלעם שיעץ נהרג. איוב ששתק נידון ביסורין.
יתרו שברח זכו מבני בניו שישבו בלשכת הגזית.

Rabbi Ḥiyya bar Abba says that Rabbi Simai says: Three were consulted by Pharaoh [and they were:] Balaam, and Job, and Jethro. Balaam, who advised, [was punished by] being killed. Job, who was silent, was punished with afflictions. Jethro, who fled, merited that some of his descendants sat in the Chamber of Hewn Stone (i.e., the Sanhedrin).

This homiletic tradition speaks of the moral failure, not only of perpetuating evil, but remaining silent in the face of it, or at the very least, declining to distance oneself from it. (Of course, similar sentiments have been attributed to Habakuk, Edmund Burke, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ginetta Sagan and many others.) This teaching acknowledges that speaking out can simultaneously lead to personal, social and political exile; nevertheless, it suggests that the foundations of Judaic morality and justice are rooted in one person’s appropriate objection.

It is with this Midrash in mind, that I unequivocally express my complete disgust and dismay having witnessed the atrocities that unfolded yesterday at the Capitol (and beyond). The disregard for law and decency on the part of the terrorists, undermined the foundations of our democratic tradition. It is terrifying that our President has participated in fueling the fire that facilitated this disaster.

I ask that you all petition God to restore peace across our country and to facilitate the reemergence of a republic united that may once again model democracy and civility.

​​​​​אבינו שבשמים.
עזור וברך את ארצנו ארצות הברית.
שים אהבה ואחוה בין כל תושבי ארצנו.
ברך את כל מנהיגי המדינות האלו
ותן בלבם רוח חכמה ובינה לקיים שלום הארץ וחרותה.

Heavenly Father.
Assist and bless our country,
the United States of America.
Implant love and fraternity
among all who dwell therein.
Bless all the officers of our states
and set in their hearts the spirit of wisdom
and understanding to uphold peace and liberty.

 

Sincerely,

Gavriel Z. Bellino, Rabbi

Fri, February 26 2021 14 Adar 5781