85. The turning back of wrath. "Love and truth meet; justice and peace kiss." This is very hard to do. I think of Rabin and Arafat meeting on the White House lawn. President Clinton forces them to shake hands. Now they're both dead--one cut down by his own people; the other in a heap of corruption. And still no peace. Or how about that spectacle a little over a month ago? Netanyahu and Abbas break bread together, smile together; and yet. God waits. "The Eternal will give what is good; and our land shall yield its produce." It is we who are the problem.
86. "In the day of my trouble I call upon Thee; for Thou will answer me!" And then, the line we sing when we take the Torah from Ark: "There is none like unto Thee among the gods, Eternal. There are no works like Yours!" Seriously. No matter where my soul resides each Shabbat morning, some days I'm happy; others I'm masking a worse mood. Either way, my heart skips a bit and my soul is lifted when the Torah Ark doors open to reveal our entirely unique and beautiful manifestation of our people's conceptualization of God's reality. A book! The Book! There it is! Sing to it! Walk it around the room! Kiss it! "Love and truth meet; justice and peace kiss." Remember that line? You just read it above. Turns out it's true! Well, certainly on Saturday mornings in Shul.
87. You know what comes to mind for me when I read Psalm 87? A Jerusalem Based Utopian Monotheistic Paradise, that's what. I could build a whole conference around it. First, activate the Pomposity Detectors. Like a simple radar gun used to catch people speeding, this device locates and identifies them. Once detected, they're immediately eliminated from participation. They have heretofore been unable to build the peace of Jerusalem. They are no longer welcome to try. Next, each participant must agree, a fortiori, to travel around Jerusalem the first day praying in one another's house of worship. For instance, I must don tefilin and pray in a church and a mosque. And Christian and Muslim participants must agree to do the same. Otherwise, they can't come to the conference. Which I can say because it's my conference. And I'm paying for it. With my own money. And I promise to be transparent about where it's coming from. Oh, and another thing. They also have to walk up to a microphone on the dais at the opening ceremony and say, "Women and Men are Inherently Equal and Your Sexuality is Okay with Me!" And then have to smile and give a "thumbs-up" to the crowd.
I'm not saying it will be a big crowd but it will be interesting to see who turns up.
People take religion way too seriously. They don't realize how playful God can be.
"The Eternal loveth the gates of Zion...and of Zion it shall be said: 'This man and that was born in her; and the Most High doth establish her...and whether they sing or dance, all my thoughts are in thee."