15 March 2010

Astound and Give Fright

Monday morning.

Everyone moving a little slowly this morning, eh?
Weather?
Daylight savings?
Or, perhaps, a general malaise, as in, "Where are all the real leaders with all these problems out there in the world?"

I heard Republican John Boehner on the radio yesterday: "The only thing there is bi-partisan support for is a vote against health-care reform." How ludicrous.

The good news is that tomorrow brings in the new month of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, the month of Passover, the month of Liberation from our historic bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt and, as the Sages figured out long-ago, a time of personal spiritual liberation as well. So dig deep--it's one week til Spring; two weeks til Passover. And if we focus our concentration on what is truly good and meaningful, we may begin to make some progress in our personal lives as well as the civic responsibility entrusted to those elected officials whom we call upon to serve our interests in City Hall, Albany and Washington, DC.

The Psalm for Monday

A song. A psalm of the sons of Korach.

Great is the Eternal, and highly praised
In the city of our God, on God's holy mountain.

Splendid, sublime on the north is Mount Zion,
Joy of all the earth, city of the great sovereign.

Through her citadels, God is known as a refuge.

The kings conspired and advanced,
But when they saw her they were astounded.
Panic stunned them, they fled in fright.

Seized with trembling like a woman in labor,
shattered like a fleet wrecked by an east wind.

What we once heard we now have witnessed
In the city of the Eternal of Hosts, in the City of our God
May God preserve it forever.

In your temple, God, we meditate upon your kindness.
Your glory, like your name, reaches the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with beneficence.

Let Zion be glad, let the cities of Judah rejoice
because of your judgements.

Walk about Zion, encircle her. Count her towers,
review her ramparts, scan her citadels.

Then tell her story to later generations,
tell of our God who will guide us forever.

--Psalm 48


A place dedicated to doing what's right has the power to cause fear in those who see themselves as powerful. This is the subversive power of communities of value and faith. What we do on the local level, if done right, can have impact when power moves into a proximal position, bears witnesses, and is left no choice but to step back in awe and respect.

Kindness and beneficence can astound and give fright--especially to those who would attempt to subvert their power.

That's the idea.

And the result?

"Walk about Zion, encircle her. Count her towers,
review her ramparts, scan her citadels.

Then tell her story to later generations,
tell of our God who will guide us forever."

1 comment:

EK said...

Dear Rabbi,
You could read multiple volumes of books containing the ludicrous sayings of politicians. It's a shame they keep getting elected.

Thanks for balancing politics with the call for personal perspective of what we can individually do in our lives. Almost everywhere you look you're bombarded with bad news these days, so it's helpful to read something from a different perspective.

Side question: Why do you have the link to the "failed messiah" site? I can understand wanting to be honest and not cover up problems in the Jewish community but looking at the headlines, it's stuff I would think anti-Semites would love. Just wondering?