Our Faith As A Life Preserver – By Marc

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There are many pitfalls to political posts, and so I try to avoid them here, and I attempt to limit my Facebook activity to music and pro-Israel commentary. But sometimes even posts intended to be spiritual and to bring people together create rifts, and have people digging their heels in to their positions and speaking only from those places and points of view.

Kabbalah teaches us about the way we work… and how so much starts with that flash of inspiration… which leads to words… and then leads to actions

Thoughts… words… actions… Our outward veil…

There is great wisdom in pausing and considering things before we speak… and even greater wisdom in ALWAYS “knowing before whom we stand.” And this does not only apply to Hashem.  We speak to our friends and parents very differently than we do to our children, but more essentially, we should speak to each and every person for the individuals that they are.

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I always turn back to Rabbi Noah Weinberg’s (OBM) wonderful lesson in The 48 Ways, where he teaches us to “Listen With Our Ears”… meaning we need to listen to other people not from our position, not from our beliefs, not from our political parties, but from our ears so, we can truly take in everything they say. We need to hear nuance and subtlety… We need to hear.

And we must realize that a good idea is a good idea, no matter where it comes from… and if we are open-minded and able to truly listen with our ears, we will all be better off.

These are very, very crazy times.  I do not know many of you personally, and certainly do not know for sure where you stand on Israel, politics, or on many matters for the most part… so I write as I see and feel and experience.

I do not want this post to become political, nor do I want to open myself up to the political dangers and traps that seem to be literally dividing friends and families.  I cannot tell you how many friends I have who have removed themselves from all social media because of the vitriol and anger… It’s madness out there and people on all sides are feeling attacked.

That seems a long way to go to get to the point of this post… a simple but powerful and essential reminder of what our faith teaches us…

I have said this many times, especially in the last few posts… but I feel it is important to hear it now more than ever… and even more than once.

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As Jews our faith teaches us to always do the right thing… to be kind to others… to give with joy…

To listen to all sides and consider them… to hear when people express fear and concern, and acknowledge those thoughts.

We are Jews… intelligent, thoughtful, articulate and fierce debates are a part of who we are… even when they get loud and challenging… Just look at a great Yeshiva…

But the idea always must be… ALWAYS… to get to the truth in an honest, open and well thought out way… given the facts and evidence we have at this point in time. I am not naive enough to think that truth is black and white. It can have colors and tones and nuances… and the Rashomon theory proves itself over and over… that people can actually witness the same exact event and see drastically different things…

And the joke about how three Jews can have five opinions is not lost on me…

But for us… in these times… let us not break apart…
Let us not politicize Israel, nor our own religion…
Let us not be divided, but rise as one.

And let our faith… our beautiful, positive, life-informing. life-guiding and life-inspiring faith be our life-preserver… our guide… our torch…

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It is not enough that G-d chose us to be the light unto the world… We also chose G-d, and have an immense responsibility in that. Tikkun Olam… healing the world… is at the very core of who we are…

And let me leave you with some potent lyrics from Matisyahu in “King Without A Crown”:

“… Strip away the layers and reveal your soul
Got to give yourself up and then you become whole
You’re a slave to yourself and you don’t even know
Want to live the fast life but your brain moves slow
If you’re trying to stay high then you’re bound to stay low
You want God but you couldn’t deflate your ego
If you’re already there then there’s nowhere to go
If you’re cup’s already full then its bound to overflow
If you’re drowning in the waters and you can’t stay afloat
Ask Hashem for mercy and he’ll throw you a rope.”

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