This week’s portion is Naso, but I want to address more specifically what is happening around the world and inn our country right now.
Our sages say that when Aaron was growing up his job was lighting the menorah. When he went to do it, it was prepared for him, it was filled with oil and the wicks were set; all was in place. His job was to light the flame in a partnership between himself and those that had come before. The sages further tell us that Aaron didn’t think his job was as worthy before the Lord, or as good as others in his family whose jobs it was to bring burnt offerings. What Aaron was told by God is that his job was very important because you keep the lamps burning, and even when the tabernacle or the temple is destroyed, the lamps will continue to burn.
We know from Jewish history that even though the tabernacle and the temple was destroyed, we keep the flame burning by lighting our chanukiot on chanukah. The chanukiah is a kind of version of the menorah; it is a 9 branch candelabra as opposed to the 7 branches of the menorah that was in the holy temple and teh tabernacle that preceded it.
What is interesting is that the ancients say that we need to be spiritual lamplighters, we need to be like Aaron and be a light to the world. We should never think that this job is not as important or as glamorous as some other job because keeping the light alive is very important.
The other thing to remember is that, just like Aaron, others have prepared the way for us so that we can light the lamp, keep the flame burning. With all the travail and difficult things happening in our country, especially dealing with the relationship of the races, we must be lamplighters. We must be the ones that are prepared to shine light on issues where there is injustice, stand up for the oppressed. Where there is crime we must stand up for justice. We need to be on the right side of justice. God is a lover of justice and also a lover of mercy.
We must allow people to change, allow people to grow and to spiritually find their right answers and maybe come over to our side. There is a lot of strife going on right now but I am very proud to acknowledge that the Jewish community has always been involved in just causes. Jews, rabbis and lay people alike, marched with the Rev. Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. which should be a matter of great ethnic pride. I was reminded this week of Sammy Davis, Jr., among others, who converted to Judaism in solidarity with a people that he recognized had also been oppressed throughout history.
It is my prayer that we can peacefully stand together against injustice and that we can protect those that need protection. Remember what our Messiah Yeshua said: if you have one this to the least of these brothers of mine then you have done it to me.
In this week that is tumultuous with the eyes of the world on the United States I hope that real change will happen, that people will peacefully demonstrate and will be heard I also pray that this will be fertile soil for the gospel, please join with me in prayer for that end.
Shalom, wishing you peace. Be safe and stand for what is right.