On social media, you can totally avoid relationships that are complicated and troubled. But in a real community, there is a pathway to repair broken relationships. Judaism proclaims that we are not victims in our life’s stories. There is a way forward, a methodology that we especially utilize during these High Holy Days when we practice doing t’shuvah.
We must have the moral courage to be willing to ask forgiveness from anyone we have harmed. It is tempting to avoid asking forgiveness from our family, our friends, our co-workers, or from members of this congregation. During this season of repentance, we are to seek out those people we have wronged. Only by seeking forgiveness can we work through the disruptions in our relationships. Only by doing t’shuvah through moral self-inquiry and asking forgiveness from God and the people in our lives can we repair our fractured world and begin this New Year with a full heart and soul.
Excerpted from Rosh Hashanah Evening sermon “Telling the Truth.”
For America’s Jews, Charlottesville should be a wake-up call. We cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. Elie Wiesel, of blessed memory, warned us “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”
On this morning of Rosh Hashanah, the blasts of the shofar call us to attention. Wake-up Jews from your slumber! The ancient sounds of the shofar rouse our souls. Tekiah – listen to the blast of hatred spreading across our country. Sh’varim – heed the calls of those broken by a society that cares not enough for the poor, the uninsured, and the weak in our midst. Teruah – sound the alarm, fear is rising in the land. Sound forth a Tekiah G’dolah so that we commit ourselves to righteous deeds that will last throughout the coming year.
Excerpted from Rosh Hashanah Morning sermon “Stand Up for Justice.”