There is only one other caveat to succeeding with this plan. That has to do with addressing the people already living in the Promised Land. They are different. They worship idols. Sharing space would be a problem. Therefore, dwelling in the Promised Land could not be achieved without consequences of displacing others. A controversy emerges when “love” is not mentioned once, but several times. What does a deeper, higher, transcendent type of love look like, in the face of real challenges? This powerful idea of reciprocal love, between God and people, doesn’t seem to align with forcibly removing someone because they are in the path of perceived progress.
It’s not the waking, it’s the rising…
“Nina Cried Power” (2018)
Prejudices against Jews have evolved over time. (So…nu?) One of the most virulent strains involves the devaluation and diminishment of the Jewish tradition. While many cultures see “love” as an aspirational ideal, with Judaism among them, the myth persists that Judaism is a religion infused with cold laws, devoid of love. We know this is not true. However, many of us are in the position of defending the House of Judaism against these and other misinterpretations. Parshat Ekev provides source material to help in this regard:
- … if (ekev) you pay attention to these laws and follow them, the Lord your God will keep His Covenant of Love (et ha brit, v’et ha chesed) with you, as He promised your ancestors… ( 7:12)
- …He will love you and bless you and increase you numbers…(7:13)
- … to love and to serve your God with all your heart and soul…(10:12)
- … Yet, it was to your ancestors, that God was drawn out of love for them…(10:15)
- … If, then, you obey the commandments that I enjoin upon you this day, loving your God…(11:13)
- … If you faithfully keep all this Instruction, that I command you, loving your God…(11:22)
Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks noted that love and justice go “hand in hand” according to Judaism’s social, moral, political constructs. In this final book of Torah, he observes that Tzedek (justice) is mentioned 18 times, more than in any of the other four books. Furthermore, Rabbi Sacks explains that love, without justice attached to it, can lead to hate.
Brussels, Charlottesville, Christ Church, Dayton, El Paso, Las Vegas, London, Newtown, Orlando, Paris, Pittsburgh, San Diego… A full list of places, or chronological order of horrific current events, is not required to acknowledge the gravity of relentless hate crimes perpetrated by human beings, in our own country and around the world. Over and over, we ask, “Where is the love?”, as the compassionate and wounded among us search for calm and comfort. Our Jewish tradition teaches us to learn from our complex and problematic texts, using timeless examples of what to do, along with what not to do, to inform our behavior: to do what is right and good. We need to remember that the Promised Land is everywhere, every day we arise and keep our promises to God and each other.
May all beings, near and far, be safe and protected and free from inner and outer harm.
May all beings, near and far, be happy and contented.
May all beings, near and far, be healthy and whole to whatever degree possible.
May all beings, near and far, experience ease of well-being.
Loving-Kindness Meditation (2018)