I hope that each of you found some time for yourselves this summer, to enjoy, relax, and reenergize. As for me, this was again not to be the summer vacation I anticipated, the respite and reenergizing to which I so looked forward. Yes, this summer there were the serious family health issues that weighed us down, along with some ACI matters that demanded my time and attention. Beyond the personal, however, this summer plagued us all with terrible world troubles, and particularly Hamas’ latest iteration of the continuing Islamist genocidal war against Israel and the Jews; this, coupled with the frightening intensification of anti-Semitism world-wide.
While situations can certainly be complex, for many of us, moral clarity here isn’t complicated. Yet there are those who have difficulty distinguishing between good and evil, right and wrong. So, for the sake of clarity, I offer this easily understood formulation: Israel is good, Israel is right. While it is surely heartening to see so many in the world who grasp this obvious truth, it is terribly sad and unfortunate that too many – some Jews among them – misguidedly take up the cause of the wrong against the cause of the right. The obstacles they place in the way of good’s triumph over evil, the damage they end up inflicting upon the world, and the harm they do to the pursuit of true peace are among their dire results.
All this reminded me again of the imperative of appreciation. Most of us don’t often enough actively and mindfully appreciate the time we are allotted on this earth – precious time which we must spend wisely; we aren’t often enough cognizant or appreciative of all that – or of all those whom – we should cherish, nor of all the good that surrounds us. We too often take all these for granted, until too late we realize that we should have thought and done better.
This is the time of year, as we celebrate the High Holidays, when we should actively remind ourselves: to avoid the pitfall of “should haves;” to distinguish between right and wrong with wisdom, and actively support the victory of good; to expose and utterly reject anti-Zionism/anti-Semitism and their enablers; to strengthen our bonds with the People, Land, and State of Israel, and proudly demonstrate our unwavering support for this most decent nation; to appreciate all that truly deserves our deep appreciation; and, ultimately, to always live wisely and well. May each of us be triumphant in these pursuits during this coming New Year.
Judy, Ayelet, Eitan, Noam, and I extend our best wishes to each of you for a blessed, happy, meaningful, successful, and healthy 5775 – Shanah tovah!
Rabbi Jonathan Pearl, Ph.D.