September 29, 2016 / Rosh Hashana 5777
When Abraham was a baby they say he wandered outside. Back then, God hadn’t caught on yet. Young Abraham wandered outside and looks up. He sees the moon, he sees the stars. Everyone at that time prayed to these glorious bodies of light. But when the sun sets, and then the moon sets, Abraham realizes there must be something else, something beyond either of these things, something that created these things, and he has a feeling of “not finding.” A feeling like, “I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something is not there.”
But we learn, it is precisely in his “not finding” that the presence of God was first revealed to him.
A Hasidic rebbe thousands of years later will think of this story and say, “Sometimes what needs to be revealed begins with the not-finding.”
If anyone had a moment this year where you looked at your news feed or front page and asked yourself, “How is this possible? How did we get to this as a country? How did we come to this in our history? How did we get to this election? this violence? this level of disparity between one neighborhood and another? If you had a moment that was disorienting, like looking for your glasses in the morning, if you had a moment like, “Am I missing something? Did that really just happen? What am I not seeing?”
Then you, too, have had a moment of “not-finding.”
What are we not finding? What have we lost?
I believe what’s missing is the dream of justice that underlies every interaction that we have in our society.
And that disoriented, “something is missing” feeling we have is nothing less than our realization that our collective dream that guides how we treat one another in this country has fallen trampled by the wayside, and there is serious work to be done if we’re to reclaim it.
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