Friday, October 19, 2007

Shabbat Ideas - October 19, 2007

It is Friday and therefore here are my Shabbat Thoughts for October 19, 2007:
Too many people, both within and outside of Judaism, think that all Jews are white and wealthy.
In the same arena Paul Marx calls for a Bar Mitzvah for Black Boys…rough title.
DovBear goes all Reform, without the rejection of meaningless ritual
Talking about something that is cool because it is in Brooklyn and no one in their right mind can find it without getting lost makes it not cool, reports shamirpower. WHITE.HOT.NEWS.

“Go forth from you land, your birthplace, your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, I will make your name great and it shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will pronounce doom on those who curse you; through you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So, that is a lot of build up.

It also seems a bit one sided. Besides nipping a piece of his who-who, Abraham really didn’t need to actually do much besides leave home. Granted in the ancient times leaving the city or even home where you grew up was more traumatic than it would be today, but otherwise this still seems to me to be a really sweet deal. God says, “Dude, if you bolt I will totally hook you up.”

I want to focus on one aspect of this passage where we could find the catch. “Through you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” That my friends, is a big burden to shoulder. The heirs of Abraham (however you want to explain that) are responsible for having their interactions lead to blessing. Mind you at the same time this kind of high and mighty behavior could make other want to curse you, leading to God “pronouncing doom” on your people but really this is a big deal.

What does it mean “through you” the others on earth will be blessed? Well because I get to write thing I will tell you what I think: It has to do with actions. We are commanded here to act within the image in which we were created. God created man (or so it said a few chapters ago) to do stuff on earth. But God also gave humanity free will (or so we explain to make ourselves feel better for the actions of bad people). Now as “partners in creation” we need to continue this process of creation, taking it past the point of stories of Genesis.

Now how do we bless the other peoples and families? Do we do it through outreach and education? Feeding the homeless? IE Setting the example? Or do we do this through prayer and metaphysical stuff? If you ask a rabbi she might say you do both. If you ask a rationalist, he might say do something that actually helps and if you ask a black hat he would say don’t worry about the non-Jews.

I say we have to find a balance between leaving the house of our father’s and living in the world that we have now found ourselves in today.

Shabbat Shalom

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