Update on the Middle East and Abraham AccordsJanuary 29, 2024
|Rabbi Wilfond’s Message – March 1st, 2024
One Love and the Path to Peace.
Last week my wife Deborah and I gave our children an unusual experience. We took them to a classic experience of
the 1900’s, a movie theater. Together we watched an inspiring film about Bob Marley called “One Love.” I highly
recommend this uplifting movie which depicts the Rastafarian religion as strongly philosemetic. In this film it seems like every third sentence is a quote from the Book of Exodus, or the Book of Psalms. The plot line centers around two concerts that took place 18 months apart. The first concert was called “Smile Jamaica.” Bob Marley was warned by Jamaican leaders who did not approve of his message of peace. They threatened they would kill Marley and his family if he gave a peace concert. A few days later assassins broke into the Marley home and shot his wife Rita in the head and Bob in the chest and arm. Miraculously they survived. In a bold act of defiance two days later they appeared on stage before 80,000 Jamaicans in a call for peace. When Marley showed his gunshots wounds to the crowd, police closed down the concert and escorted Marley off-stage. Bob Marley went into exile in the UK, where he wrote the music for his album “Exodus,” which Time magazine called “The greatest album of the 20th century.” The film explains Marley was inspired by the music of the Hollywood film “Exodus,” about the founding of the State of Israel. 18 months later, Marley returned to Jamaica to liberate his people from political unrest and violence. This time Marley did things differently. He succeeded in getting the opposing leaders Manely and Seaga to come on stage and shake hands. This leads to a major reconciliation among the people of Jamaica.
Bob Marley’s second concert succeeds in bringing enemies together, whereas the first attempt failed.
This is like in our Torah portion which is about the first time God tries to give us the Ten Commandments. The process is flawed and the tablets wind up as broken shards. The second time God gives us the Ten Commandments, God does things differently and the Commandments are everlasting. What was the difference in the two episodes of the giving of the Ten Commandments? The first time, God does everything by God’s self. The second time, Moses carves the commandments and partners with God. The second set is the product of collaboration. Partnership is the path for
enduring change both in the Torah and in the story of Bob Marley striving to bring peace and love to Jamaica.
Today the war in Israel and Gaza brings us daily heartbreaking news of horrific losses of life. There was a cease fire in
November during which over 100 hostages were released. Tragically this cease fire was not sustained, like the First Set
of Commandments it was broken, and the suffering of so many has continued. The question remains, “What would
make a new cease fire lasting?” A simplistic answer is release the hostages. A more complex answer acknowledges that there will need to emerge a form of partnership between currently opposing forces if a path toward life with dignity is to be achieved and sustained. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin famously said, “One makes peace with enemies.” Rabin had the courage to stand up against extremists for the sake of peace. That courage is needed today if we are to find a path to a lasting peace and life with dignity. The Torah is a map through the wilderness. Bob Marley was inspired by Torah to find a path of peace. May listening to the voice of Torah lead us too on paths of peace.
Rabbi David Wilfond