From Cantor Lee
This is a story I have told to many and also share with my seventh graders each year.
About eight years ago, a new couple moved into the house across the street from us and much to our shock had animosity towards us. This was also surprising to the rest of our neighbors as we live in a multicultural neighborhood and honor each other's beliefs, traditions and religions.
After the couple's baby was born, they began going to neighborhood meetings to complain about us, that we had too many visitors. What is so funny that people with teenagers had more visitors than we did! Although the neighborhood board stood behind us and suggested that we have people park in our driveway this whole situation got under my skin. In spiritual terms it means that this couple hooked into my energy field. I became nervous each time someone came to visit and uncomfortable when the couple was outside.
Rabbi David and I decided we would pray that they would move and had a special prayer/ceremony one evening in our front yard. They actually put up a for sale sign the next week!! But within two weeks the sign was gone. I then decided I would just change the energy by sending them blessings each time I would go outside. This wasn't easy especially in the beginning but I kept at it. Although my anger and discomfort lessened it kept getting triggered as the couple continued to display animosity towards us.
As my daily ritual progressed, I finally reached the place that no matter what they were sending me, my heart was truly full of blessings for them. Within a month of reaching this point, the family moved! The other strange thing is that two other families down the street that that were not so kind to their neighbors moved at the same time!
Today, four years since the family moved, I look back on this experience with much gratitude for it helped expand my spiritual understanding on many levels. I have continued the daily ritual of sending blessings to those who show animosity and hatred and right now that includes Hamas and ISIS. I honestly can't say that my heart is always totally open in doing this but I know that working on the energetic level as a partner with G-d is part of the plan. And so I will continue. Who knows, perhaps all those who decide not to align with love and peace will move to a different planet!!
From Rabbi David aka The Reb
As if we needed a reminder how awful, cruel and vicious war is, we have had a full dose of it in the last couple of weeks. The intention was to put a stop to several thousand rockets which have been falling on every corner of Israel threatening the life of every Israeli citizen, man woman and child.
We now know that the long and elaborate network of tunnels dug under many Israeli villages was in preparation for a monster terror operation which was to take place during the High Holy Days this year. Thousands of terrorists (yes, thousands!) were to emerge at the same time from these tunnels in the middle of many Israeli villages, shooting at anything and everyone. This would have been an extremely well coordinated operation which would have easily massacred at least 5,000 Israelis.
Israel estimates there would have been a 90% chance of success. Hamas has been practicing this operation for a year and a half now. So yes, this was a real plan!
In the last two weeks approximately 2500 rockets have fallen over Israel. To compare the percentage to the United States, multiply 2500 rockets by 450 (the USA is approximately 450 times the size of Israel.)
The answer is 1,125,000 rockets. Imagine if Mexico sent more than a million rockets all over the USA. How long would it take for the USA military to take action?...Get the picture?
But this is not to excuse the Israeli operation in Gaza. Israel does not need an excuse to do everything possible to survive a barbaric enemy which does not recognize any Jewish person's right to live and breathe anywhere in the world. Period. Speaking of a war of survival....
So what is the answer? Will we forever live under the shadow of complete annihilation?
The bible, a 3000 year old book, describes numerous incidents in which nations who intended to destroy Israel were completely destroyed. No doubt three millennium ago we had a very violent beginning. Yet one can easily understand that in these ancient times the rules of war were simple. Only one side survived, either Israel or their enemies. Nothing in between. (sound familiar?...)
But the difference was that we were never violent people. We simply faced violent circumstances. In fact, from the first day of our exodus from Egypt we were taught to love freedom and protect it with all our might. Freedom for all nations. Freedom also means peace for all.
What is amazing in our evolvement as a nation and as human beings is that despite all the violence perpetrated upon us over the years, we never developed violent tendencies. This is true throughout our history. Israel is fighting to survive, not to destroy anyone.
As our terrorist enemies admit, "The Jews love life ( L'chaim...)"
We also love Freedom and Justice - we always did.
But how is it that our spiritual development took such a different course than most of the ancient world? There are spiritual clues in the bible that provide the answer. On the surface the biblical "rules of engagement" are very clear, pragmatic and moral including do not rush to war, try to negotiate peace, fight only until your enemy surrenders, never engage non combatants in war activities.
Over the centuries these basic humanitarian rules have led to an amazing leap in Jewish consciousness. You see, we recognize the Power of the Light of G-D within us, the Light of Peace and Love which is desperately yearning to eliminate evil and war from the human mind and soul, to shift our spiritual DNA so no human being will ever worship wickedness and brutality.
Yes, Israel right now has to physically defend herself. But by us also spiritually sending the Light of Love and holding a vision of peace in our daily prayers we will trump evil! May the Light of our collective consciousness eliminate all darkness and suffering around the world!