In vain I searched the Internet for the words from Yitzhak Rabin seared into my memory but apparently forgotten by Google among his more famous speeches.
It was in July of 1974 when during his first term as Prime Minister Rabin addressed a joint session of congress and eloquently described learning the words on the Liberty Bell in their original Hebrew as a small child: “U’kratem dror ba-aretz l’chol yoshveha – Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all of its inhabitants (Leviticus 25: 10).”
Rabin pointed out that this cardinal foundation of both American and Israeli democracy comes form this week’s Torah portion.
As recent events from Ferguson to Baltimore in the USA and the demonstrations in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel attest, the United States at age 238 and Israel at age 67 both fall far short of that biblical goal.
Though neither country has yet achieved its lofty ideals, neither fails to hold its ideals aloft.
A just, caring and compassionate society is easy to articulate but difficult to achieve.
It is easy to give in to despair and anguish when we look at the world around us. Many do.
But isn’t it a better choice for each of us to do something—however small–to move the world closer to the day when, “They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain (Isaiah 11:9).”
We must do what we can
We may not cure cancer but we can give food to the hungry. We may not make peace in the world but we help a child learn to read. Possibilities abound.
As we light the candles to welcome a Shabbat of peace and joy into our lives, let us think of how we might light a candle to bring peace and joy into the lives of others.