Saturday, March 30, 2013
Finding Common Ground in the Valley of Dry Bones
היום ארבעה ימים בעמר
Today is four days of the omer
A day of perseverence in a week of loving kindness
Today on Shabbat Hol Hamoed Pesach--the Shabbat in the midst of Passover--the haftarah that is chanted is the "Dry Bones" story - Ezekiel 37:1 - 37:14. Rabbi Moshe Levin of Congregation Ner Tamid in San Francisco teaches that this haftarah would be better placed in the week between Yom HaShoah--Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Yom HaAtzmaut--Israel Independence Day. I very much agree with him. It is a story that gives me chills each time I read it, seeing an ancient prophesy that came to life. I wrote about this during the counting of the omer in 2007. That was when I first really read the story and saw the link to being lifted from the ashes of the Shoah, restored to life in a land that we can call our home.
Three years ago, on this same omer day, I found another layer to this story. I saw that redemption doesn't just happen, we need to hear the prophesies and find the ways and the leaders that will make this happen. Finding the right leadership in Israel right now seems even more urgent. I fear that if things do not move forward towards a two-state solution, there will be no land to call home.
This year, I add another layer of commentary. When I read this today, verse 9 popped out to me: "Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, O mortal! Say to the breath: Thus said Adonai/God: Come O breath, from the four winds, and breathe into these slain, that they may live again." Not only do we need to be open to hearing the prophesy, but we, as Jews, need to come together from our different places, find a way to join our breath, our ruach, our spirit--physically, philosophically, theologically--to be able to live in our home. We need to find the commonality we have as a people in order to keep the land we call our home.
Once again I say: "כן יהי רצון – May it be so"