|Rabbi David Wilfond’s Message – Friday, October 13th, 2023|
We are not alone
More than 1,500 Jews murdered on a single day. The worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust. Women and children taken into Gaza to be tortured, abused and mutilated. The brutality of Hamas exceeds what civilized people could imagine. Our Torah teaches in this week’s portion, “All Humans are created in the image of God.” Brutality occurs when people are so blinded by their own hate, in this case of Jews, that they cease to see the Divine spark that dwells in others. When we see the suffering of others how can we not empathize? Our hearts go out to all who are grieving and in mourning.
In our weekly parsha, our Torah says “It’s not good to be alone.” This is especially true in mourning. By comforting each other we help find a way through “The valley of the shadow of death.”
If you have family or friends in Israel now would be a valuable time to call and let them know they are not alone.
It is helpful to know that at Shaaray Tefila we are not alone in our mourning. This Tuesday ten synagogues of Northern Westchester will gather at 7pm at Sons of Israel in Briar Cliff to express our solidarity with Israel and to say Kaddish. This will be an interfaith gathering with clergy of other religions in support of the Jewish community. I invite you to join me.
Yesterday, it was heartening to see our Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, stand next to the Israeli Prime Minister and say “Israel will never have to defend itself alone for as long as America exists.” Israel is not alone in mourning. Israel is not alone in standing up to hate and brutality. All civilized people must stand together and call out inhumanity whenever this poison is released into the world.
Tonight, Friday, we will gather at the Temple for a Shabbat of Solidarity and Support of Israel through prayer, poetry, and advocacy.
It is an Israeli custom during war when taking leave from a friend, or ending a phone call, many people will say “Shenishma Besorot Tovot,” which means “May we hear better news soon.” This is our prayer.
Dear God, may we hear better news soon. We all need it now more than ever.
Shenishma Besorot Tovot,
Rabbi David Wilfond