From Psalm 55:
לִבִּי, יָחִיל בְּקִרְבִּי; וְאֵימוֹת מָוֶת, נָפְלוּ עָלָי.
ו יִרְאָה וָרַעַד, יָבֹא בִי; וַתְּכַסֵּנִי, פַּלָּצוּת.
ז וָאֹמַר--מִי-יִתֶּן-לִי אֵבֶר, כַּיּוֹנָה: אָעוּפָה וְאֶשְׁכֹּנָה.
ח הִנֵּה, אַרְחִיק נְדֹד; אָלִין בַּמִּדְבָּר סֶלָה.
ט אָחִישָׁה מִפְלָט לִי-- מֵרוּחַ סֹעָה מִסָּעַר.
My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.
It is so easy, in our fear and anger, to want to close ourselves off. Our feelings of pain and sorrow push us to close our doors to the outside to shield ourselves from any future pain. I will admit that I feel that pain…I feel that anger, that fear. I have spent the last few days wondering why…how could this have happened? Not here, not today. And, yet, at the same time I am not so surprised. Hate begets hate begets hate…and so on.
However, if we close our doors…if we push everything away…if we flee from this, then the hate has won. No – we must join together as one community of Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikh, Hindu, Atheists…one community of humanity. Together we can overcome what causes us the most fear and anguish right now. Yes, there are many things, many ideas that divide us. Why should we dwell on those? Why not, instead, dwell on the things that binds us together? We have so much more in common….
Psalm 133 teaches us – Hinei Mah Tov u’Manayim, Shevet Achim gam yachad,” How good and pleasant it is that we can join together as brothers and sisters.”
This is the lesson. This is what I want us to dwell on – Our coming together in a time of need…to find joy, to find goodness. We do not have to look hard to find it – we just have to look to our left and our right at the faces of those who stand together with us.
I would like to end my remarks with a prayer I wrote on Sunday:
“Shabbat of Broken Spirits”
Joyce Fienburg, 75-years-old
Richard Gottfried, 65-years-old
Rose Mallinger, 97-years-old
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66-years-old
Cecil Rosenthal, 59-years-old
David Rosenthal, 54-years-old
Bernice Simon, 84-years-old
Sylvan Simon, 86-years-old
Daniel Stein, 71-years-old
Melvin Wax, 88-years-old
Irving Younger, 69-years-old
This was not supposed to happen, not here.
Here, we were supposed to find peace, comfort and holiness.
The Shabbat brings us a time of rest, reflection and spirituality.
The Shabbat began as so many others…members coming together to pray for shalom.
History has taught us the need for community, love and support.
History has given us the opportunity to learn together as a community.
History has brought us to where we are today.
The present teaches us we have a lot more diligent work to do.
Beloved God – be with us as we (once again) attempt to move forward from this place.
Give us the strength to mend our broken hearts and our broken spirits.
Help us to remember…not to forget…not to hold grudges…but to remember.
We must not only remember the agony; we must also remember the times of joy and comfort.
Baruch Atah Adonai, HaMevareich et Amo Yisrael BaShalom.
Blessed are you God, who blesses Your people Israel with peace.