Apr 19, 2017
Apr 15, 2017
Upon the Shabbat of Passover
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
How powerful the comparison between Shabbat and Pesach.
Regarding Shabbat, the culmination of Creation: Darkness and chaos ruled, sparking within God the desire for Light, a primal marker for hope and renewal, for the ability to distinguish between one moment and the next, one person and another. Perhaps we might even say that in the beginning there was Darkness, thank God.
But when it comes to the liberation story of Passover, the place of Darkness is different. The increasing Darkness over Egypt through the Exodus narrative, including but not limited to the locusts so manifold that the very rays of the sun are blocked, culminates in the penultimate plague, a form of Darkness that locked one immobilized in the confines of selfhood, unable to even see another person. In the end, there was only Darkness.
And so we find ourselves on the Shabbat of Pesach ritually immersed in between the Darkness that prompts Creation and the Darkness that threatens to isolate once again. Perhaps that is why we recite the Song of Songs on this day of sacred synergy, evoking an image of beloved partners catching glimpses of each other through light-filled latticework and darkness-infested alleyways.
Perhaps we remind ourselves in this way that the path forward demands that we, each and all, create bridges of light, hand in hand, to banish Darkness once and for all to the ash heaps of history.
Friends, we've had enough Darkness for many lifetimes. Let's do something sacred about that. Let's amplify the light within each other and build a world worthy of God's intentions.
#BuildOnLove #OlamChesed #Passover #Shabbat #darkness #light
Apr 9, 2017
Homegoing: A Mid-journey Mini-Reflection
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
I find myself mid-air, weightless, en route to re-enacting my family's freedom journey. My children delighting in each other's silliness, sharing space and time. I'm finally reading a book that's been waiting for months. And I'm reading it because I am in control of my own choices, mostly in charge of my own time.
But most of all, my redemption song is one I must labor to remember through elaborate, rituals, annual and daily. I could forget my own oppression. Not really, but sort of.
And this is where the pain begins. This eloquent novelization by Yaa Gyasi African slavery (set in Ghana, where my soul was torn open by an encounter with modern slavery just a few years ago) is rife with painful detail, one of which hits me hardest in this moment of family pilgrimage:
What if I couldn't be sure I could see my own children, that strangers could legally tear them from me? What if my blessed childhood, an experience of privilege I can barely comprehend, weren't a stable grounding for my future? I certainly would never would have become the me I today recognize. And the profound gift of fatherhood would be a shattering loss I could never, and will never, choose to imagine.
All this is a real story that has defined America, has defined my entire life from a place of invisible and ongoing oppression. The New Jim Crow that finds a new accursed name in every generation, just as Jews will recite in the Hagaddah tomorrow night of the ongoing evil of antisemitism.
I can barely fathom my own story, let alone this one. But that is the work ahead:
We are called to be present, engaged, and active in God's unfinished world until every person is free. If that isn't a call we feel and labor to answer, we have no right to our own freedom songs.
May we be blessed to be part of the great work ahead. And may it be unnecessary one day soon, please God.
#BuildOnLove #OlamChesed #Passover #seder #haggadah #spirit #freedom #homegoing
Apr 5, 2017
- The Haiku Haggadah (2017): (YouTube Video) (individual graphics)
- Jewish Wrath and the Haggadah (podcast)
- A JWeekly story focusing on Passover practices focusing on Global Slavery: jweekly.com/2017/04/05/let-all-people-go-passover-project-tackles-global-slavery/
- A New York Jewish Week story about Pesach Seder Supplements focused on the Refugee Crisis: jewishweek.timesofisrael.com/trump-at-the-seder/
- A Times of Israel story about Social Justice Seder Supplements: timesofisrael.com/passover-guides-serve-up-a-side-of-social-justice-for-the-seder-table/
- From Rabbis Against Gun Violence (RAGV): http://ragvtest.weebly.com/uploads/7/5/7/9/75795149/ragv_seder_supplement_2017.5777.final.pdf
- From Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights: http://www.truah.org/opendoor/
- From Bend the Arc: http://www.jewishaction.us/sites/default/files/bend_the_arc_-_4_responses_to_unacceptable_times.pdf
- From AJWS: https://ajws.org/blog/new-video-passover/
- from Jewish LearningWorks: http://tinyurl.com/jlwinclude
- from the Jewish Women's Archives: https://jwa.org/stories/passover/fourquestions
Apr 4, 2017
Mar 29, 2017
-- Why is Moses Kept Out of the Tabernacle?myjewishlearning.com (March 9, 2017)http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/why-is-moses-kept-out-of-the-tabernacle/Facebook Live (March 29, 2017)http://rabbicreditor.blogspot.com/2017/03/insideoutside-one-rabbis-post-aipac.html(co-edited with Rabbi Aaron Alexander)https://www.amazon.com/Slavery-Freedom-Everything-Between-Passover/dp/1482652927by Rabbi Menachem Creditorhttps://www.amazon.com/Pesach-Rhyme-Rabbi-Menachem-Creditor/dp/1478218908/
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Mar 21, 2017
Mar 15, 2017
Mar 9, 2017
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
There is an ugly truth we'd rather not face, a hate that is alive and well and growing in America.
Face it we must. They are coming for our children. They are coming for our old ones. They are coming for our neighbors. Day Schools, JCC's, religious communities, Jewish Children's Museums, immigrants, Muslims, Jews.
Who is "they," you ask? Look around you. Anyone not actively advocating for and working to ensure the safety of every person is complicit. "Willing executioners" is a frighteningly big category. As Elie Wisel taught, "The opposite of hate is not love. The opposite of hate is indifference."
Friends, we will read the Purim story this Saturday night with recognition. With resilience, with determination. "The whole world is a very narrow bridge," taught Rav Nachman of Bratslav. He closed by showing us all the way forward: "The essential thing is to have no fear. None at all."
Abandon all fear. Enter these new gates, hand in hand, heart in heart. We will fight for our children, for our old ones, for our neighbors.
We shall overcome.
Feb 28, 2017
Feb 27, 2017
Feb 22, 2017
Feb 21, 2017
Feb 19, 2017
(c) Menachem Creditor
keep working your own heart.
open yourself to the next flower,
the next breeze,
the next person you see.
take a moment.
perhaps ask the flower what it needs,
ask the person what she needs.
(dare you ask yourself what you truly need?)
don't worry so much about the way to God.
if you can open yourself to another,
the way to God will reveal itself
that much more clearly.
Feb 17, 2017
Feb 16, 2017
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Feb 12, 2017
Powerful moment yesterday in shul:
"Rabbi, I get why some people have a hard time with hard-hitting sermons. We leave feeling more deeply. And that hurts. We leave with a burden. But we need it. It's what we need."
One take-away among many: We, members in socially engaged faith communities, must love each other well and fully, so that pain (real, important, global, calling) has a #soulcushion strong enough to absorb, a heart resilient enough to smile at the world we're together building (while also collectively crying/raging at the world we're experiencing).
Love is as real as pain, and exponentially stronger - once exposed to the air and shared freely.
Feb 9, 2017
Feb 2, 2017
Jan 29, 2017
(c) rabbi menachem creditor
signs amidst baggage claims
hijabs and yarmulkes, megaphones and pizzas
lawmakers and preachers,
reflected in my overwhelmed eyes
my friends are everywhere
trying to put out
wildfires with their bare hearts
trying to counter
scattershot hatred with boundless love.
i lift up my eyes
to the mountains...
I beg You God, that angels surround
detained children, fractured families
my dehumanized cousins
alone, threatened by powerful ugliness
I beg You, God: tell me this isn't happening
that my world isn't being ravaged
by a new Pharoah and his magicians
I'm begging, God.
Tell me this isn't real.
if You can't tell me this,
tell me something else:
What must we do to make it better
before it's too late?
Yes, God, we hear You.
It's always been the same answer,
though our pain feels different this time.
We know (it's just so damn hard to remember)
that there's only one answer:
Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.
Grant us more Holy Love.
Wake us from despair,
that we might see You
in each other's eyes
Jan 26, 2017
Jan 24, 2017
Jan 23, 2017
We will march again soon.
We've barely begun.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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