Rabbi David's Rosh Hashanah morning sermon
Who We Are
We are living in a tumultuous time, no doubt.
We have just experienced nature's rage and fury first hand.
Some say it’s just a weather pattern cycle, with no connection to man.
To others it looks like man made global warming with glaciers melting, holes in the ozone, millions of cars all over the world polluting.
But either way, Mother Nature as we all know is not happy.
In the last several weeks we have all witnessed just how fierce Mother Nature's fury can be.
Like many of us, I believe that there is an intimate spiritual connection between all living things and Mother Nature. Ask a Native American and he will tell you that earth is a living thing. It is a living entity. It has its own consciousness.
This Rosh Hashanah when we reflect on last year’s events, when we take stock of who we are, it is also a good time to reflect on what we have just experienced with the storms and what this experience tells us.
It seems in the last couple of years and as time goes by, we have been experiencing so many sharp divisions between different ideologies. In certain campuses and cities, rioting and intolerance is spreading like a disease with no shortage of blame everywhere. Opinions have become so emotional that division and strife has even torn apart families and friends. From social media, to certain universities and schools, and public places, and even in certain cities, disagreements are answered with aggression and intolerance.
It seems that we have allowed social, political and racial unrest and even violence to divide us. Even racism is rearing its ugly head.We watch as rioting is taking place in cities across the country. We are silent as certain freedoms, the corner stone of our life are being challenged. We have allowed our differences to painfully divide us. We should never allow ourselves to fall into this cesspool because that is not who we really are. And all this is in the face of so many other issues.
And I know that we, like Americans everywhere, are not willing to accept these kinds of situations. We despise violence because, as we teach our children, violence is never the answer. We all have the Light of G-D within us.
Then came Harvey and Irma.
I don't think there is one person here who was not affected by the epic devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston and Hurricane Irma here in Florida and the Caribbean. We all saw the incredible human suffering and misery inflicted on so many of our fellow Americans in Houston and Florida. Especially those who live in the path of those two monsters.The total devastation of flooding and powerful winds caused so many people to lose everything they had.
It must have been a day or two after the storm as they were showing the devastation in the Keys on TV that I saw something amazing. There were several homes next to each other, completely demolished with nothing left.
Yet, on top of the rubble which was once the roofs of the buildings, American flags were either displayed or flown.
And I understood the power of that message.
From the devastation, from the agony, we all emerged the way we really are, strong in spirit, compassionate, caring for each other.
We have seen scenes of rescue unfolding in front of the camera which are difficult to believe. Heroic efforts to rescue entire families from raging waters or from underneath the rubble.All over the Keys and on the West side of Florida, people driving around looking for anyone who needs help or water or shelter. Neighbors helping neighbors, strangers doing anything possible to help.
Rioting in cities across the country are the work of the very few with twisted goals and agendas. Coming together in times of need is really what we are all about.
And I am proud to say that.
So I, with you together, pray today that this spirit of caring and unity, will forever be our true mirror. And we can look at ourselves with pride.
I bless all of us this Rosh Hashanah with a prayer to our Eternal G-D of Israel for a Year of Health and Prosperity.
A Year of Love, Tolerance and Understanding.
A Year of Happiness.
(This was written before the devastation of Maria. Our prayers are with the beloved people of Puerto Rico and all affected by Nature including our neighbors in Mexico)