Friday, February 9, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - February 9, 2007

With the Senate still debating if to debate, the left and right of the Jewish community casting for (upper)West Side Story and some bitter cold weather, here are my Shabbat Thoughts for February 9, 2007.

See not even The Jewish Week likes the AJC Report and Richard Cohen is pissed.
Hate the Arabs or Love the Environment?
The End of Conservative Judaism, now there is a provocative title.

This week marks the 11th anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah as we read Yitro. We learn of Moses not being a perfect and unflawed leader in this parshah, which leads me to believe that neither God or Moses or anyone who was ‘there’ wrote the Torah. (for another day.)

But here Moses asks his father-in-law for help. Jethro offers his best advice: delegate! So we learn right off the bat that we Jews to create large and more efficient (in theory) bureaucracy. He sees Moses sitting in judgment in front of the people and teaching the word of God and says:
“The think you are doing is not right; you will surely wear yourself out, and these people as well. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me. I will give you consul, and God be with you! You represent the people before God… You shall also seek out, from among all the people, capable individuals who fear God – trustworthy ones who spurn ill-gotten gain. Set these over them as chiefs of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens, and let them judge the people at all times. (Exodus 18:17-21)

So from the get go, we have been a people of sizeable organizations and it isn’t just those pesky out of touch Federations or even the smaller and hipper Indie minyanim.

Yet what do we learn? We see that the number one big cheese needed to delegate. Moses, son of Egypt turned man of God and leader of people needed help. Regardless of what Freud has to say about him, the figure of Moses is only flawed in his interactions with God. However the fact that his father-in-law had to put him in his place so earlier on in this story, it is clear that even Moses had issues.

The rock incident aside and minus the rage seen portrayed by Charlton Heston, Moses’ character is one of steadfast leadership. His ability to step back and support his father-in-law’s decision was proof thereof.

Today we are seen an attack on the Jewish left from the Jewish right. I for one would love to see a Moses of the Jewish left come out and lead us to the promises land. But as Mobius points out and anyone who has dealt with the political and social left in the past 10 years know, getting people together is like herding cats, cats with HUGE egos.

And throw in the Jewish part it is almost a lost cause. We do need to delegate but also know that this delegation will allow us to get through the desert of this battle and into the promise land. By working together, even if we can’t stand one another, we can fight back the idea that saying “Israel isn’t perfect” is an anti-Semitic slur. The Shalom Center and Tikkun and Jewschool and the liberal Movements and the ADL (well one could hope they would) need to get together, put away the differences and stand on a platform of understanding. A leader will emerge and she will be our Moses. Color me Jethro.

Shabbat Shalom.

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