Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Lech Lecha and the 2016 Election

Waking up to election results, I'm thinking about this week's Torah portion, Lech Lecha. Abram is challenged to "go forth"  to a new place - " a land that I will show you."      Our tradition teaches that the commandment to leave every thing that they knew  was one of many tests that Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah would face throughout their lives.

As a nation, we have been cast into uncharted territory. Like Abram and Sarai, we do not know what we will encounter as we travel on our journey into the future. Each step we take brings us further away from the touchstones we thought we could count on to steady ourselves as individuals and as a nation. Now is a time for grief, shock and mourning.

Today we must take stock in and learn from this brutal new reality.  We must pause in order to feel and, yes, begin to heal. Only then can we find the strength to choose our path.

But healing does not mean complacency. Let us not forget that another test faced by Abraham and Sarah was when God told them about the plan to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gemorah. The fact that Abraham, unlike Noah, challenged God and passionately argued for mercy and compassion bore witness to both his character and his leadership.

Our task, as we go forth in the aftermath of a brutal, ugly, frightening and vastly disappointing election is to speak up and make our voices heard if and when we see injustice and bigotry injected into our daily lives. Our character will be on display as we go forth into this wilderness. Will we be able to  speak truth to power?  Will we be voices of conscience, compassion and consistency, or will we allow the waves of ugliness that this election has unleashed go unchecked?

As we take our first steps today, let us remember that our faith, our values and our footsteps are all intertwined.


  1. Thank you for words of guidance. We all need courage and determination going forward, and not to splinter the unity we feel with recriminations.

  2. Thank you for these healing and inspiring words, Rabbi.

  3. I think that you have spoken with wisdom and humanity, Rabbi Black.
    I hope to share in your on-going guidance concerning "Our task, as we go forth", step-by-step.
    Thank you.
    Clare Pawling

  4. I think your gloom is over stated. Let's be hopeful and look for the positives. We obviously had a difficult choice between two flawed people, but from a positive side we now have a better possibility that Iran along with Hamas and Hezbollah may receive less support and be better controlled and Israel and the Jewish people may be safer. In the scope of things that may be most important.

  5. Joe - I hear Jeremiah speaking in our lives today, telling us we are still in exile, and to move forward and live full lives anyway. Eventually, plans for our welfare and not woe will be known, as we are brought back to our own land!