The “Light” Response to Antisemitism

Parashat Acharey Mot

The “Light” Response to Antisemitism

Shabbat Machar Chodesh

Shabbat Mevarekhim HaChodesh

May 4, 2019 – 29 Nisan 5779  


Dear Friends,

The name of our weekly Parsha, Acharey Mot literally means: “After the death of….”

How did Aaron, the Kohen HaGadol [the High Priest] respond after the sudden, shocking, unsettling death of two of his four sons?  How did his family and his community help him cope?  How do we respond after yet another antisemitic attack occurs in our country?  How do we move forward? What is our response?

The pain is palpable to all of us.  The loss is real to all of us.  The sorrow is overwhelming to those directly affected.  This is true now and this was true in the Biblical story of Aaron and his sons.

The Bible helps us to find a way forward.  It helps us to reach for a response to shocking loss, to lives cut short for no reason that we can fathom.

The way forward is the way that is described in Parashat Acharey Mot.  The way forward is to light the light of service, the light of community, the light of determination, and the light of love.  This is the time to stand firm.  This is the time to show up.  This is the time to support one another.  Every bit of light is helpful to dispel the darkness.  But, when those lights stand shoulder to shoulder, the result is greater light than when the lights are few and far apart.  This is the time to generate more light in the world.

I hope to see you this Shabbat when we will be reciting the blessing for the new Jewish month of Iyyar.  Rosh Chodesh Iyyar will be on Saturday night, Sunday and Monday.  May it be a month of comfort and joy.  May it be a month of healing.

We gathered this past week at the UJC to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Now we move forward to Rosh Chodesh Iyyar and following that, on Tuesday evening and Wednesday, to the Yom HaZikaron [Remembrance Day] to honor those who gave their lives so that Israel might be established and maintained.  The pain of loss is with us.  But immediately after that, the light of determination, the light of celebration, the light of life in the face of darkness is on our calendar.  On Wednesday night and on Thursday we will mark the celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut [Israel Independence Day].  We will mark Yom HaAtzmaut with special prayers and readings at our regular 7:45 am Thursday morning minyan next week.  Join us, if you are able to be there!

I look forward to seeing you and I know that we all look forward to seeing one another and to generating more light in our world.

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror