Speech signifies comprehensibility. Melody is beyond language, expressing moods which words cannot describe. Silence is yet higher.
The power to be silent at certain moments of life and of history is an important strength. It expresses the awareness that G‑d is infinite, and cannot be encapsulated in our human conceptions of what should take place.
The Talmud tells of an instance in which Moses himself was told by G‑d to be silent. G‑d showed him in a vision all future generations of the Jewish people, and the leaders of each generation. Moses was greatly impressed by the wisdom of Rabbi Akiva. Then he saw the way the Romans tortured him to death. “Is this the reward of his Torah knowledge?” Moses asked. G‑d answered: “Be silent. Thus it arose in My thought.”
This is not to say that the Torah advocates a fatalistic approach to life. Before the event, one must do everything possible to prevent tragedy. But once it has happened, G‑d forbid, through the acceptance and the silence we reach a special closeness to the Divine. Our sages tell us that because Aaron was silent, he was rewarded by G‑d speaking directly to him.
In our generation, too, there is a need for this power of silence. It is not a passive power, but one that leads to vigorous and joyous action. The Jewish response to the harrowing events of the Shoah is the determined and energetic action to rebuild Jewish family life and Jewish knowledge.
Through our power of silence we too, like Aaron, will merit Divine revelation. G‑d will bring the Messiah, rebuilding the Temple and bringing lasting peace to the world.
It’s a movie about a pretty much canonically Bisexual woman, with her team of a French-Moroccan (who talks about how he can’t be an actor because of his color), Native American (who talks about how he doesn’t have a side because white people already fucked up everything for him), Scotsman with PTSD (ok look it’s not the biggest issue out there but Thick Scottish Accents are like the White Whale of english-speaking accents in things just trust me), and token White Anglo Saxon Protestant,
Saving the world through the principle of tikkun olam
And coming to realize that humanity isn’t evil, but rather, that evil arises because humans have free will
this is the most Jewish Super Hero movie I’ve ever seen please go see it
President Trump visited Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust memorial museum on the edge of Jerusalem, on Tuesday morning. Flanked by Israeli and American flags, the president spoke gravely of the “millions of innocent, wonderful, and beautiful lives, men, women, and children … extinguished as part of a systematic attempt to eliminate the Jewish people.”
And, when he left, he signed the guest book: “It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends — so amazing and will never forget!”
Many tweeters juxtaposed Trump’s note against the sober message left by Barack Obama when he visited Yad Vashem in July 2008, while he was still a senator.
- being asked if I’m Jewish because of the way my hair looks
- being interrogated about my personal political beliefs because I am identifiably Jewish
- being expected to denounce and apologize for Israel every time I want to be Jewish in public
- being told “I don’t hate Jews, but I’m pro-Palestine” in response to my Jewishness
- being told I’m going to hell for being Jewish
- non-Jews dictating to me what does and does not constitute antisemitism
- people who are not me and who don’t look like me engaging in endless debate about what “race” I belong to
- white supremacists telling me that I “control the world” and “should go back to Germany” while folks on the left tell me I benefit from white supremacy
- having to make a choice between queerness and Judaism
Noticeably absent from this list:
- seeing others’ religious symbols on display in public
So Trump is in Israel right now playing diplomat and even objectively factual statements from various media sources (such as “Trump touches down in Tel Aviv” or “Goes to Western Wall”) are getting horrifically anti-Semitic comments from both far left and right.
It’s ok if you don’t support Israeli statehood (I personally disagree but it’s ok if you don’t).
It’s ok if you condemn Israel’s treatment of Palestinians (which you absolutely fucking should).
But here are some things to keep in mind about these issues in general:
•Not all Jews are Israeli.
•Not all Israelis are Jews.
•Not all Israelis support the actions of Israel.
•Not all Jews support the actions of Israel.
•The current administration does not speak for all of Judaism or even accurately for all of Israel.
•The current administration of Israel is very controversial even within its party and the more liberal parts of the country are furious and protesting frequently.
•Military service is legally mandated, which forces young people to enforce policies many of them oppose.
•Israel’s awful treatment of Palestinians is a reflection of Netanyahu’s shitty reign and his close circle of conservative, racist, Islamaphobic dickheads. It is not a reflection of Israel’s core values, or the values of its people, or the values of Judaism.
And most importantly:
•Whatever your stance on Israel’s statehood, whatever your stance on Trump, whatever your stance on Netanyahu, ANTI-SEMITISM IS NEVER OK
The Talmud makes a challenging statement. If you have the desire to spill blood, say the Rabbis, become a butcher, and if you have the desire to steal (in other words to take hold of and possess) other people’s money, become a collector of charity. In other words, take the desire you have, and use it for a good purpose.
This is a crucial idea within Judaism. There are two aspects to who I am as a person: the gifts and desires I am given, and what I choose to do with them. Everything we are given in this world, however challenging this may sometimes be, is ours for a reason. We all go through life with our own little package, our own suitcase, full of our talents and skills, desires and foibles; all the things that bring us up, and all the things that bring us down.
There isn’t much we can do about that. Each of us has a suitcase, and whatever we think of it, it is ours to keep. Some are born tall, maybe they will become basketball stars, and some have musical talent, and others, the gift of knowing when and how to smile. Many of these talents we do not really earn, they are ours to develop. The question, however, is what we choose to do with them. And if everything comes to me from G-d, then even my weaknesses can be a gift, if I will only find a way to channel them for the good.
If I have a desire to steal, it must come from somewhere, and therefore there must be a way to make good of it. Our challenge in this world is how to do just that.
if a left wing activist says that it’s not the place of jews to define antisemitism, that refusal to treat antisemitism the way they treat other forms of oppression should be seen fully as what it is; refusing to acknowledge that antisemitism is a real form of oppression
Right now at this moment there are Jews preparing for Shabbat. They’re washing their floors. They’re writing their divrei Torah. They’re mentally going over the menu and the guest list, wondering who to seat next to whom to create the most beautiful atmosphere. Right now at this moment there are Jews assiduously demarcating the meat from the milk dishes. The trusty household red nail polish, or blue stickers, or Sharpie, or however they work, emerges.
Right now, at this moment, there are Jews taking out their sefarim, or finding their podcasts, or notebooks, or opening their laptops, ready to learn Torah. Some are about to learn something that will resonate deep within them, that they will carry like a jewel for years to come.
There are nervous b’nei mitzvah children practising their leining, and nervous adults practising their leining. Chazzanim both lay and professional are wandering their houses absent-mindedly, pouring forth full-bodied prayer.
Some of us are buying mezuzot. Some are tying tzitzit. Some are immersing in the mikvah; some are joining the Jewish people. And thousands upon thousands of us are filling the homes of Jerusalem, of Paris, of New York, of London, with the smell of baking challah.
I have a distinct memory from my childhood of my parents arguing in the kitchen after our Passover seder. They realized after clearing the table that my family members had drank the last of our wine and we had nothing to leave out for Elijah. My dad suggested we could leave a can of Coke, and my mom shrieked, “You can’t leave COKE for ELIJAH!”