Parashat Korach

July 1, 2022

 

Concluding lines from the poem Korach by Laurie Patton, The Torah A Women’s Commentary; page 913:

 

Sweating in starlight

we remember arrogance

and we mutter righteous anger

and then quietly beg

to hear God –

 

for when the dawn comes,

we do not know

which of our sacrifices

will be the right ones 

As I read and reread this week’s Torah portion, Parashat Korach, which highlights the famous rebellion against Moses and Aaron by Korach, Dathan, and Abiram, my thoughts instantly turned to our world today. We humans refuse to learn from the past. We keep ‘tripping over our own feet’ repeatedly. These days, I imagine you might be asking yourself the same questions that are forever bumping around my head…why, why, why?

I leap from one news report to another throughout the day. How is our world such a mess? Do you listen to podcasts and read blogs and editorials? We wonder if today’s Korachs and Dathans and Abirams are running wild around the globe, especially here in our own democracy in America.

I love this country, warts and all. I proudly admit I am an American through and through. But right now, my heart cries…not for a 1950s America but for an America that opens its doors for all and stands for freedom, respect, and dignity. I’ve experienced antisemitism in my face in my own town; I’ve witnessed prejudice. But it’s 2022, and I wonder where all our ‘progress’ have taken us. Where is the progress beyond science and technology? Where is ‘human relational’ progress?

Watching the January 6 Congressional hearings makes me proud and ill at the same time. There is no doubt in my mind that January 6th was a Korach moment in our history. I wonder what our great-grandchildren will read in history books about that insurrection (no, they were NOT tourists walking through the Capitol)? Lies and deceptions led to that Korach-like uprising right here, in our free and democratic nation, not in some third-world country.

As if that wasn’t enough for our hearts and minds to process, our Supreme Court, the revered arm of our government by many of us for eons, somehow became a political hack last week. That highest U.S. authority, which was THE bastion of honor and integrity, left us bereft. The Court’s decision and its accompanying words filled us with fear for so many in our population that require protection under the law. We wonder what or who will be left behind next. The Court’s decision reflected decades of upheaval planned and funded by those who believe we must all believe as they do. Our Jewish values, they say, have no place in this nation that they want to claim as Christian and white. Who has allowed ‘those people’ determiners for all of us?

So, we come to this Shabbat, still filled with turmoil in our souls. Last Shabbat when we first heard the {Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization} decision, we cried, we raged, we marched, we called, we emailed, and we wrote. This week, our hearts and minds are no less broken; we are, if anything, more worried for our sisters across this nation who will need our help. However, I implore each of you: do not give up!

THIS IS A MARATHON, not a sprint! We must remain alert and engaged in all areas of political arenas. That word ‘engaged’ takes on many meanings and opportunities. Wherever you are comfortable (and even spread out of that comfort zone if you dare), stand up and be counted, have a voice, write postcards, call elected officials, join voting phone banks….do whatever you can to turn the tide. But DO SOMETHING!!! Sitting and whining will not bring change.

Most of all, never give up.  Read the poem again...the whole poem (The Torah A Women’s Commentary page 913)! Join with WRJ and your local sisters and do your part to build a world secure in freedom and democracy and respect for all. 

May God grant us peace and joy on this Shabbat.

 

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