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see the blessings

03/30/2023 09:27:36 AM

Mar30

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Two seemingly unrelated incidents of late that are on my mind have a shared thread that I hope to make apparent. I have spoken very little about the political scene in Israel, preferring to give the new government the opportunity to act. Gradually I began to see the error of that decision as statements that reflected poor choices of words made the trajectory of the new government veer onto the wrong path. Israel’s position in the world as the only democracy in the Middle East is threatened, but it is not from external enemies. The absence of a constitution means that there is no national document that codifies a balance of powers between a legislative and judicial branch.  There is no law that guarantees equal rights for all citizens.

The thirteen weeks of post-Shabbat protests in Tel Aviv have yielded unexpected results, in that Prime Minister Netanyahu has deferred these disturbing deliberations until after the Passover recess. This was truly democracy in action, as the people have spoken out in massive numbers to protest these ill-advised changes. I read a posting that someone had extrapolated the numbers, and noted that a comparable protest in the United States would have meant 16 million people. I, and so many others, pray this quote from the Prayer for the State of Israel: Guide its leaders and advisors with Your light and Your truth. Help them with Your good counsel. And do we ever need to say: Amen.

The town of Rolling Rock, Mississippi, was essentially leveled by a tornado over the weekend.  The images of the devastation were shocking to view. I have no doubt that all of its citizens are traumatized, yet what has emanated from the town is love for each other, neighbor helping neighbor, and the promise to stay and rebuild. This sure sounds familiar to me, and hopefully you as well. I don’t know about you, but I can affirm that this is also Pittsburgh. I pray that all the governmental agencies that exist can collaborate and develop a coordinated plan to aid this distraught and vulnerable community.

I thought of these two dissimilar events, and paused to express gratitude to God for the many blessings in my life. It would be easy to list the complaints and all the negative, much like the fact that it takes fewer muscles to frown than smile (as few as 6 to frown versus 10 to smile).  Sometimes it takes a bit of effort to recognize and acknowledge the blessings in our lives. I wake up. Thank You God. I am vertical. Big thank You.  I have a roof over my head, hot water for a shower, clothes to wear, food to eat and a car to drive. Thank You.  I have a loving family, a caring congregation, a respectful community, and the media is not calling me every hour. Thank You.

When you awaken tomorrow, take thirty seconds to acknowledge and thank God for the blessings in your life. For when you do, you develop an even greater empathy for your fellow human beings, and the ability to recognize that you are indeed blessed. And that deserves a big thank You.

 

 

Thu, May 30 2024 22 Iyyar 5784