Words of Comfort in a Dark Time

The Journey to a Better Tomorrow Begins Today
A Message from Rabbi Edwin Goldberg

November 9, 2016

This morning many of us in this country and congregation feel as though they are in mourning. I certainly feel that way. This is not because of Democrats or Republicans but because our country has been through a horrific experience in which our language has been debased and our old hatreds, once thought to be diminishing, have returned. For those bothered by the uncertainty of the election, the uncertainty of the future is far worse.

I am comforted nonetheless by this week’s Torah reading in which Abraham (and Sarah) are called upon by God to go on a journey to a new land. As the late Rabbi Alan Lew once pointed out, in the Bible no one ever goes on a journey willingly. Either they are commanded (in Abraham’s case) or fleeing for their lives (see: Jacob and Moses). Or maybe their brothers have sold him out (Joseph). But the journey happens and the true self shines through. Were it not for the journey they never would have known their true, resilient selves. Think of what President Kennedy said when asked how he became a hero in WWII, saving his crew from drowning. He said that he had no choice once they sank his boat.

So moving forward we are on a journey as a country that looms with terrifying uncertainty. But I pray that, like Abraham and Sarah, we will embark upon this journey with faith in God, the ultimate goodness of humanity, and the calling to make the world a place of justice, compassion and peace.

I also hope that you will join your congregation for worship this Friday night (6:15 p.m.) so we can come together as a community of hope and support. Please know this: we are not alone. You are not alone.

If you would like to have a member of our clergy team speak with you, please reach out. We are always available.

One final thought: a few weeks ago, as our late Kol Nidre service ended, Melanie and I walked by the security desk and were told the Cubs were losing to the Giants. It was the ninth inning. People were surprised when I smiled and said, “The Cubs will win this game.” I knew they would win because this team – when things seem to be going wrong late in the game – starts to go to work. That is their comfort zone. (As game seven of the World Series amply proved.)

So here is the point: the months ahead will determine whether or not those of us who care about respect, decency, compassion, and justice for all are ready to fight for what we believe. Will we fold or will we suit up and play the game of our lives?

I want to believe in the best that is in us. I hope you can too.

With sholom,

Rabbi Edwin Goldberg

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