Mar 9, 2018
Feb 28, 2018
A Purim Blessing
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Tonight is #Purim.
Tonight we read the Megillah (Scroll) of Esther, whose central phrase is "Nafoch Hu" - "Revolution." What might that mean for us today?
On Purim, in addition to the mitzvah (commandment) to #Hear the Megillah, It is obligatory to enjoy a meal (#Seudah), send a gift of at least two portions to another person (#MishloachManot), and to provide monetary support for the poor (#MatanotLaEvyonim).
In our interconnected world, where inequality on our streets and law are growing, where any group's vulnerability on a given day seems to matter to leaders no more than a toss of the dice (literally the 'lots' of 'Purim'), all these mitzvot feel somehow connected.
How can I enjoy a meal if my privilege robs another of their dignity? On this day, a traditional fast leading up to Purim, a fast commemorating the bravery of the Biblical Heroine Esther... On this day, let us all reflect on the excesses of our portion and commit to interweaving our fates with that of all peoples. Let us commit to a revolution that turns every curse into blessing. Let us learn from Esther that, when the fate of the world hangs in the balance, we dare not wait for an invitation.
Let us be brave enough to see that we have more than we need and good enough to share.
Feb 20, 2018
© rabbi menachem creditor
in support of #MarchForOurLives
gazing with tearful eyes
pure potential, boundless love
colors yet unchosen, taking form...
feeling with a privileged heart
i sit surrounded
by tweeted headlines
so much needless loss
not far away. here. now.
the unbearable silence
drives me outside
where a picnic bench silently invites
a little girl dances over to let me know she's having cucumber and a sandwich for lunch.
life. please God, life.
let the music play...
Feb 15, 2018
Feb 14, 2018
©Rabbi Menachem Creditor
upon the 14th school shooting in 2018
oh, our vulnerable children,
17 felled, bloodied by cherished bullets
and national (bought) numbness.
developmental anger, teenage alienation
armed by a free, uncaring market,
and a cultural weapon-fetish.
how long before it is your child?
Jan 11, 2018
Jan 10, 2018
Jan 8, 2018
Diving for Hidden Treasure: Exodus, Liberation, and Light
Menachem Creditor, HuffPost Contributor
A powerful story, a favorite of my father’s, tells of a grandfather and a grandson. The grandfather, a traditional Jew, is on his deathbed and makes a final request of his grandson. The grandson is prepared to create a Yeshiva, give charity - anything his grandfather asks. So when the grandfather asks him to become a scuba diver, the grandson is shocked. He stammers his confusion to his grandfather, who explains,
“When I was on the boat coming over from the Old Country, I remember one picture very clearly: When we all saw the Statue of Liberty come into view, many of those on the decks of the boat threw their tefillin (prayer phylacteries) overboard. I want you to become a scuba diver so that you can rescue those pairs of tefillin.“As it turns out, this story has made the rounds of oral traditions from early Jewish American immigrants to Shoah survivors. It is immortalized within the poetry of early 20th century American Yiddish Poet Jacob Glatstein, and later in the modern novel In the Image, by Dara Horn. They story’s historicity is simply overwhelmed by its meanings. What could those who threw their tefillin overboard have been thinking? They had suffered and survived the constriction of their religious freedoms, only to abandon the symbols of their tradition into the waters of America! [to continue reading, click here!]
Jan 5, 2018
Beloved Community Writing Project, #1
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Intro: For each day leading up to Martin Luther King Junior Day, I’ll choose one text by the American Prophet Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and offer a rabbinic comment. These sacred texts are more than historic statements of a champion of Human Rights: they are a roadmap to a better society, what King called a ‘Beloved Community.’
May we be strengthened by his enduring spirit to bring our communities one step closer to his vision.
“There comes a time when people get tired of being trampled by oppression. There comes a time when people get tired of being plunged into the abyss of exploitation and nagging injustice. The story of Montgomery is the story of fifty thousand such Negroes who were willing to substitute tired feet for tired souls, and walk the streets of Montgomery until the walls of segregation were finally battered by the forces of justice.” (from “Justice and Freedom” in The words of Martin Luther King Jr, ed. Coretta Scott King)
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and God swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The children of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” (Ex. 14:21-22)
Splitting of the Sea of Reeds, the climax of the biblical Exodus, is typically depicted in cinema as an explosion of waters after a dramatic gesture by Moses. Truer to the text, truer to human experience, liberation is a grinding process of marching tired feet.
A classic Jewish teaching, chanted during moments in which justice and redemption feel dreadfully far in the future, affirms faith in the coming of the Messiah. “Though he may tarry, I will wait.” In contrast to this, modern religious movements, discontent abrogating joy to the World to Come and committed to changing the World That Is, require language like that of Dr. King’s.
Examples of nagging injustice abound. Will you wait for that better day to arrive? Or instead, might you find the moral courage to fan the strong eastern winds of freedom with your own tired hands, crumbling every alienating wall with a determined impatient love?
#BelovedCommunity #WritingProject #MLK #2018 #1
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