Pleading Before HaShem

Parashat Ve’etchanan

This week’s Torah portion is called Ve’etchanan – “I pleaded.” It is Moshe pleading with the people to observe G-d’s mitzvot and live as the holy community G-d has purposed Israel to be.

Last week we discussed how Deuteronomy is an interesting book. It is actually a repetition of the entire Torah. The other peculiar aspect of the book is that it involves a different generation than the rest of the Torah. Meaning, the whole reason Moshe is pleading with the people at the beginning of this parasha is because it is the generation about to go into the Promised Land after wandering in the dessert for forty years. This is not the generation that left Egypt and was involved in the sin of the golden calf. Nor were they probably old enough to fully comprehend the impact of the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. This was a new generation.

It is called Ve’etchanan because Moshe is pleading with this new generation to not be like the previous generation. Moshe is pleading with them to be faithful to HaShem’s covenant, to observe the mitzvot and be a holy people. He recounts the giving of the Torah, and explains the purpose of G-d’s Torah. Moshe instructs the people that if they will be faithful to HaShem, then He will be faithful to them and provide for them.

Yet, what is so powerful and mysterious about this parasha is that it is also not about a different generation. That this current generation (and every generation to follow) is actually also the previous generation which left Egypt, wandered in the dessert, and stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai.

For HaShem did not just make this covenant with our ancestors, but with us – with us who are alive today. HaShem spoke with you face to face from the fire on the mountain. (Deuteronomy 5:3-4)

This mystical idea is so central to the Jewish people that when we observe the commandments and festivals, we are not just remembering something that happened in the past – but we are reliving it. Every opportunity, and every chag, every holiday is a reliving of the events. When we remove a Torah scroll from an ark, it is not just a Torah service; it is reliving the experience at Sinai – with the fire, thunder, and all. When we celebrate Sukkot, we are back in the dessert homeless, hungry, tired and cold. When we observe Pesach, we are actually being redeemed from Egypt. As this week’s parasha also states:

Someday your child will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of the instructions, laws and rulings which HaShem our G-d has laid down for you?’ Then you will tell your child, ‘We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and HaShem brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand…’ (Deuteronomy 6:20-21)

Every one of us was once a slave (and in many ways, we still are). We all stood at Mt. Sinai, and all share the responsibility to follow in G-d’s ways and be faithful to His Torah. The next time you pick up a Siddur, light Shabbat candles, or put on a tallit – may you be enveloped in the idea that we are not just observing something that happened in the past; we are reliving it in the here and now. Each action is an opportunity to reengage G-d, and to relive the events surrounding each mitzvah.

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Rebellion and Selfishness … or a Message of Hope?

Parashat Korach

This week’s parasha begins with an outright rebellion against Moses and Aaron. So what do we learn from this?

Korach, a first cousin of Moses (and also a Levite), and those with him are presented in the parasha as having selfish motivations for their rebellion, as exemplified in their accusation:

“You take too much upon yourselves! After all, the entire community is holy … So why do you exalt yourselves above HaShem’s community?” (Numbers 16:3)

It seems Korach felt he could do a better job leading the people of Israel than Moses and Aaron. So he set out to overthrow them, and usurp their authority by assembling a group of people to follow him.

Pirkei Avot teaches:

“Any dispute that is for the sake of heaven will have a constructive outcome; but one that is not for the sake of heaven will not have a constructive outcome … And what sort of dispute was not for the sake of heaven? – The dispute of Korach and his entire community (Avot 5:20).”

In the end, Korach and his family were swallowed up by the earth, and the 250 people with him were consumed by fire. What is even more unbelievable is that the very next day the people started grumbling against Moses again – after just having witnessed the fate of Korach and those with him. So G-d sent a plague that ended up killing another 14,700 people in addition to those who died along with Korach.

We learn from Parashat Korach that G-d takes selfishness very seriously. Because whenever we think we can “do it better,” we need to be careful. There are times when it is true – maybe we can do it better. But the real question is our motivation. Is our motivation to do a great job? Or, is it a matter of a selfish ambition based on jealousy, insecurity, or rebelliousness?

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that G-d has assigned.” (Romans 12:3)

We are supposed to be confident in our abilities. But a mature confidence is not arrogance. Paul warns that we should never take ourselves too seriously. For if we do, and begin grumbling against those around us, we risk the fate of Korach.

To be clear, the message of Korach is not one of utter hopelessness. For interwoven in the story is also a message of redemption. Although Korach himself chose to rebel against G-d, Moses, and Aaron; his descendants chose to follow in the ways of HaShem. How do we know this? There are eleven Psalms all written by “the Sons of Korach.” As G-d so often does, He took a negative experience and turned it into a story of hope.

The descendants of Korach deliberately chose not to walk in the ways of their ancestor. Rather, they took upon themselves the burden to walk in the ways of HaShem. We are instructed elsewhere in the Torah to be holy just as G-d is holy. Holiness is a choice. We can either choose our own selfish ambitions, or we can be like the sons of Korach, and (despite any negative reputation and associations) choose righteousness, holiness, and the way of our Messiah. I hope we choose wisely.

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Happy Independence Day!

We wish you and your family a very happy 4th of July, and leave you with a couple of inspiring thoughts on this Independence Day.

“Of all the disposition and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports … Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”

-President George Washington (Farewell Address)

“Our G-d and G-d of our ancestors: We ask Your blessings for our country, for its government, for its leaders and advisor, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them insights from Your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst … May this land under Your providence be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all people in peace and freedom and helping them to fulfill the vision of Your prophet: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they experience war anymore.” And let us say: Amen.

-“A Prayer for our Country,” Siddur Sim Shalom

 

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Lift Up Your Head

Parashat Bamidbar

What is the purpose of the census at the beginning of the book of Numbers, and why is so much detail placed on the encampment of the tribes of Israel around the Tabernacle?

This week’s Torah portion begins the biblical book of Numbers, named after the census taken at the beginning of the parasha.  The act of counting individuals seems quite trivial and without meaning.  In addition, the census seems to appear out of nowhere.  As such, what is the purpose of the census?  The Hebrew of the text provides an answer.  The literal translation of the phrase, “take a census – se’u et rosh” is “lift up the head.”  According to Chasidic thought, the purpose of the census was to reach out to the core of the Jewish soul.  When each person is counted, everyone is equal.  Each person counts as only one count.  No one is counted twice and nobody is skipped.  The census was meant to even the playing field and show equality and value of every single individual.  One life is not worth more than another.  Each person has purpose.

This idea of holiness is emphasized in the encampment of Israel around the Tabernacle.  The 13th Century Jewish sage, Ramban (Nachmanides), noticed clear parallels between the mitzvot surrounding the Tabernacle and the Revelation at Sinai.  As Sinai represented the place of God’s manifest presence, so too the Tabernacle represented God’s presence on earth.  And just as the people camped around the base of Mt. Sinai, so too did the tribes camp around the Tabernacle, symbolizing the centrality of God’s presence among the people of Israel.  During the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, the Jewish people entered into a profound covenant with God.  The symbolism between a Jewish wedding and the giving of the Torah further solidifies this understanding.

By making the Tabernacle central to the people of Israel, geographically and conceptually, it solidified the Jewish commitment to the centrality of Torah.  The centrality of Torah underscored the emphasis for the need of the Living Torah, dwelling in, through, and among the nation of Israel.  May we too recognize that same obligation to make God’s presence central to our lives, and may each of us never lose sight of our ultimate purpose.

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Consequences of a Violated Relationship

Nadab-and-Abihu-killed-by-God-for-making-an-unLawAcharei Mot

Traditionally, Leviticus 16, which deals with the proper protocol for the High Priest during the special Yom Kippur service, is read in the synagogue on the morning of Yom Kippur. The Torah introduces the Yom Kippur service immediately following the death of Aaron’s two sons, Nadav and Avihu. This demonstrates that there is a direct connection between this tragedy and the instructions of Yom Kippur described in our Torah portion.

According to the Sages, part of the transgression committed by Aaron’s two sons is that not only did they offer improper offerings, but they entered into the Holy of Holies, which only the Kohen HaGadol (the High Priest) is allowed to do. Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah (First Century) comments that either sin would have been enough to warrant their death. As a result, the entire rest of the chapter deals with the proper protocol of Yom Kippur and the order for the High Priest to enter into the Holy of Holies.

It is taught that Moses’ long process for seeking forgiveness on behalf of the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf ended on the tenth day of Tishrei (Yom Kippur) when he returned with the second set of tablets. That day became associated with forgiveness.

The rest of our Torah portion goes on to describe the Yom Kippur sacrifices and proper sexual relationships.

Often we might not think that God cares that much about protocol and how we live our lives. It seems Nadav and Avihu took this for granted as well. The problem with Nadav and Avihu is they knowingly and intentionally violated the mitzvot God clearly commanded them to obey.

I don’t believe HaShem is out to “zap” everyone the moment they stray. Instead, throughout our Scriptures we often see a loving and merciful God who is always willing to offer second (and more!) opportunities to do teshuva, and re-orient ourselves spiritually. But as with being a parent or a spouse, or in other types of relationships, there are certain lines one does not cross without severe repercussions – adultery, lying, stealing, cheating. It seems that we too have certain protocols and commitments we expect one to follow in certain types of relationships.

The same with HaShem. Nadav and Avihu violated their intimate relationships with HaShem. As priests who were consecrated to serve and devote themselves wholly to God, they took advantage of that relationship. It seems, based on the following commandments of our Torah portion, they may have even violated other intimate relationships as well.

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Divine Presence

Parashat Terumah

What is the connection between the construction of the Tabernacle, its furnishings and the Presence of G-d among the people of Israel?

This week’s Torah portion, Parashat Terumah, centers on the instructions concerning the building of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) and its furnishings. This raises an interesting question. For if the Bible’s overall theme is about G-d’s relationship with humanity through the Jewish people, then why is so much attention given to the details of objects? The answer is deeply connected to the purpose of the Mishkan, its services, and the manifest presence of the Divine.

The Torah states, “They shall make for me a Sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them (25:8).” The Hebrew name for the Tabernacle is mishkan, which means “to dwell” or “dwelling.” As such, even the word mishkan denotes HaShem’s presence that would dwell among the people of Israel.

Ibn Ezra comments that “while Moses was still on Mt. Sinai, G-d commanded him concerning the tabernacle so that it would be a permanent place among the people for the glory that had rested on the mountain.” Further, Rabbi Samson R. Hirsch notes that the key to the Tabernacle is directly related to Israel’s calling in verse 8. The Sanctuary represents Israel’s obligation to sanctify itself in its personal life. When the nation carries out that primary responsibility, G-d responds by dwelling among them.

G-d has always desired to tabernacle among His people. And the purpose of the Mishkan was to be a constant reminder of G-d’s presence residing among the Jewish people. The mishkan represents G-d’s shechinah (from the same word as mishkan) – G-d’s manifest presence on earth.

The author of Revelation writes that this continued presence of G-d among the Jewish people will continue beyond the second coming of the Messiah and even into the “New Jerusalem.”

“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of G-d is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. G-d Himself will be with them and be their G-d (Rev. 21:3).’”

This promise echoes passages from the Torah in which G-d promises that He will be Israel’s G-d, and that they shall be His people. This promise of Israel’s unique relationship will continue into the Olam HaBa – the World to Come. May we, as followers of Yeshua, our Righteous Messiah, continue to live personal lives aware of G-d’s manifest presence, and may we continue to work to bring that Presence to the rest of the world – thereby affirming our calling to be a Light to the Nations.

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Holiness, Justice and Reaching Out to Others

OutreachParashat Mishpatim

What can this week’s parasha, and the Torah as a whole, teach us about reaching out to others and drawing them close?

Our Torah portion begins:

Exodus 21:1

א  וְאֵלֶּה הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים, אֲשֶׁר תָּשִׂים לִפְנֵיהֶם.

1 These are the ordinances which you shall place before them.

The Torah then describes instructions for becoming a people of the covenant. But what does that mean exactly? To better understand, we’ll need to dig deeper into the Torah.

Justice as Holiness

Mishpatim is actually a continuation of last week’s parasha, Yitro. Therefore, we must go back to where Yitro leaves off … at the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. The point is that the commandments of this week’s parasha are a continuation of those same mitzvot on Mt. Sinai. What, then, follows are primarily matters of justice:

  • The ethical treatment of slaves
  • Crimes of murder and kidnapping
  • Personal injuries
  • Damages through neglect or theft
  • Unfair business practices …

Such seemingly civil and tort matters are further mixed with commandments of social justice …

Exodus 22:20-23:

כ  וְגֵר לֹא-תוֹנֶה, וְלֹא תִלְחָצֶנּוּ:  כִּי-גֵרִים הֱיִיתֶם, בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם.

20 You shall not taunt or oppress a stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
21 You shall not afflict any widow, or orphan.
22 If you dare to cause them pain – for if they cry out to Me, I will surely hear their cry–
23 My wrath shall blaze, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives will be widows, and your children fatherless.

So, again, what is the purpose of these seemingly juxtaposed mitzvot? Mishpatim provides an important insight into Judaism, and into Biblical thought: To G-d, there is no separate realm between ritual and spiritual matters (unlike within Western thought which separates the two). All areas of life are intertwined and holiness potentially binds them together. According to the Torah, concern for justice is a concern for the Holy.

Holiness is not some mystical, esoteric state of being. Rather, it is a way of life and a pattern of action. To “do holiness” is to partner with G-d in bringing redemption into the world. For example: The Torah considers the treatment of strangers a matter of justice, and repeatedly calls us to stand up for the downtrodden. WHY?  Because every person is created b’tzelem Elohim – Created in the image of G-d (Genesis 1:26-27).

Therefore, We must recognize justice as essential to holiness. Before we can attain deeper levels of holiness within ourselves, we must be able to recognize holiness within others.

So what does this teach us about Outreach?

Bringing people into our community requires seeing the reflection of HaShem within them, and welcoming them into our community.

A Lesson from Avraham Avinu

One of the greatest examples of hospitality in the Torah is Avraham Avinu … our great Patriarch, Abraham.

Genesis 18:1-8 describes the story of “Abraham’s tent” and his welcoming of the three strangers. According to Jewish tradition, his tent was open on all sides, meaning it was open and welcoming to all. The rabbis are quick to point out that Avraham’s hospitality is not passive. He was looking for guests! And not only was he looking for guests … the Torah tells us that Avraham RAN to not only meet his guests … but he ran to meet their needs as well:

“(v. 2) On seeing them he ran from the door of this tent to meet them.”

“(v. 6) Avraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Quickly, three measures of the best flour. Knead it and make cakes!”

“(v. 7) Avraham ran to the herd, took a good, tender calf, and gave it to the servant who hurried to prepare it.”

According to the Talmud, hospitality is a great mitzvah. It is considered more important to show hospitality than to attend classes or to greet HaShem in prayer (b. Shabbat 127a).

A young person once visited the famous teacher known as the Chofetz Chaim. The guest had arrived at the synagogue just as Shabbat had begun after having been on the road for many long hours. He was hungry and very weak from having walked so far. After the service he was invited to the home of the Chofetz Chaim for Shabbos dinner, who noticed how weak and hungry his young guest was.

To the surprise of all his guests, the famous Chofetz Chaim skipped singing Shalom Aleichem (a prayer where we welcome the angels) and after quickly reciting Kiddush and HaMotzi began to eat.

“Why did you skip singing Shalom Aleichem,’ the young man asked his host. The Chofetz Chaim replied, “I could see that you were very weak and hungry. A hungry person should be fed as soon as possible. The angles can wait to be greeted.”

Yeshua’s Final Instructions

Yeshua commands us to “make talmidim” (Matttew 28:16-20). One of the roles of a talmid, according to Jewish thought, is to make other talmidim for their Rebbe.

In Luke’s version of this event, Yeshua tells his followers he is to begin in Jerusalem and then go out to the nations. They are to continue the work first among our own people, and then spread the message to the rest of the world.

Conclusion

In continuing that commitment, I feel it is vital to step-up our efforts at attracting other like-minded individuals and families to our communities. But we need new and creative ideas for how to reach out to,  and bring-in other Jewish and intermarried people. It’s time for fresh, out of the box thinking.

I might not have all the answers for how to do that, but what I do know, is that it must begin with recognizing justice and the way we treat others as an extension of holiness. Like Avraham, we need to run to greet those we feel would be a welcome addition to our congregation and to our movement … and draw them near to our Messiah.

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What does God expect of us?

Parashat Yitro

This week’s Parasha tells us that “Moshe went up to G-d, and then HaShem called to him from the mountain.” This phrase begins the retelling of the powerful story of G-d giving the Torah to Israel, and of the experience we had as a people standing before the presence of HaShem.

This interesting point is made before G-d actually gives any of the mitzvot. That point is simply that G-d expects something from us. All the blessings, mitzvot, and covenants rely on action from our part. The Torah specifically tells us that Moshe went up to G-d, and then HaShem called down to him. The giving of the Torah rested on Moshe taking the faith initiative to seek out G-d. To climb up the mountain in an expectancy to encounter the manifest presence of the Divine. It was an action, an action of faith. That is what all of the mitzvot really are – lessons in faith. Or as one rabbi once put it, the 613 mitzvot are actually 613 different ways to connect to HaShem.

Moshe did his part, so that G-d could do G-d’s part. And the response was just as tremendous. Before we as a people even had an opportunity to hear all of the mitzvot, G-d required that we first make a choice, by faith, to follow in His ways before we even knew what would be expected. And by faith, we the Jewish people accepted the Torah before it was even given:

All the people answered as one, ‘Everything HaShem speaks, we will do (Ex. 19:8).’

Judaism teaches us that we are partners with G-d in bringing redemption into the world. Of course G-d could have done it without our help. However, the most exciting thing is that HaShem gives us the opportunity for Kiddush HaShem, to sanctify the Name of G-d in the earth. We have been given the ability to see the world through a different set of lenses. Instead of viewing everything as either “holy” or “secular,” our mission as Jews is to see things as “holy” and “not yet holy.” We can either see the world as mundane, or take simple everyday acts and elevate them to a level of holiness.

G-d gives us the privilege of partnering with Him in bringing redemption into the world. To do our part, so that G-d can do G-d’s part. G-d stands at the door and knocks (Re. 3:20). HaShem beckons us to be faithful to the mitzvot and faithful to the covenant. Through obedience to Torah, and the pursuit of G-d’s presence, it is possible to engage and change the world, and prepare the way for the coming of our righteous Mashiach Yeshua. Bimhera v’yamenu – May it be soon and in our days!

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The Road Less Traveled

Parashat Beshalach

Parashat Beshalach is unique in that it begins by telling us what God did NOT do.

God did not guide them to the highway that goes through the land of the Philistines, because it was close by – God thought that the people, upon seeing war, might change their minds and return to Egypt. Rather, God led the people by a roundabout route, through the desert by the Sea of Suf. -Exodus 13: 17- 18

Rather than guiding the Jewish people quickly down the well-traveled highway to present-day Gaza, God chose the less obvious route, leading to an eventual entry to the Land (forty years later) over the banks of the Jordan River. The text says that the children of Israel departed Egypt “fully armed,” and yet God led them away from battle. Why is this? It seems that before the people even began their journey out of Egypt, God already knew they lacked fortitude for the challenges ahead.

Much has been said about the generation of Jewish people that participated in the exodus from Egypt. Ibn Ezra discusses at length the “slave mentality” that left a generation of liberated slaves psychologically incapable of facing direct combat with their enemies. After all, it is this generation that later believes the bad report of the ten spies, and is prohibited from entering the Land as a result of their lack of faith in God’s promises. Later in this very parasha, these former slaves doubt God’s ability to meet their most basic needs – for protection from violence, water, and food – despite repeated miracles demonstrating God’s power.

Maimonides argues that God chose an indirect route in order to toughen the people and prepare them to enter the Land. In his Guide for the Perplexed, he says, “Ease destroys bravery while trouble and concern about food create strength. This strength that the Israelites gained was the ultimate good that came out of their wanderings in the wilderness.” (3:24) This would make sense, but for the fact that this generation of Jews never had the opportunity to exercise their supposed bravery. It was their children(who did not witness the miracles of Beshalach) who entered and conquered the Land.

It seems that God chose this route in order to demonstrate something fundamental about the way He works through the Jewish people and through history. It is not human ingenuity or warfare that produces redemption. Indeed, the people of Israel are given their freedom without the need to lift a single sword. It is God who turns the seabed into dry ground, who turns bitter water sweet, who rains manna and quail from heaven, and who routs the Amalekites’ attempt at blood sport. God admits that this choice has a didactic purpose when he explains to Moses that, “I will win glory for myself … and the Egyptians will realize at last that I am the LORD.” (14:4)

It often strikes the reader as a shame that the generation that witnessed awe-inspiring plagues and miracles struggled so vocally with their ability to rely on God for basic provisions. But it is not for our own satisfaction that the Torah itemizes their every complaint. Instead, the Torah reminds us that, regardless of our current position (whether it be characterized by relative affluence or relative deprivation), we remain dependent on God for our every need. Even those who are unburdened by a “slave mentality” are ultimately unable to accomplish anything of significance without God’s direct intervention. And that ultimately, God is working out His plan to redeem all creation through the trials and challenges faced by the Jewish people. By continually redeeming us, God tells the nations of the world that He is the LORD. Our highest calling as a people is not to toughen our own hides, but to place our trust in God. Paradoxically, it is through our uniquely vulnerable exercise of faith that God demonstrates His might.

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A Modern Day Prophet

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

I have always admired Dr. King’s life and work. And of course, his words have always motivated and inspired me. In fact, Dr. King (in a very roundabout way) even played a role in how my wife and I got engaged. However, recently it truly hit me what lies at the root of his great legacy. Dr. King was more than a great figure, a great leader, or a great orator. Dr. King was also more than a visionary.

There was something much deeper which caused people to either admire or despise him. Dr. King was a prophet. He was one of our generation’s greatest prophetic voices in the line of the great prophets of the Tanakh – along with such modern giants as Rabbi Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel (see our post, Praying With Their Feet).

If we look at the prophets of the Tanakh, their role was to call Israel back to covenant faithfulness, and rally against injustice and oppression. For more on this you can read my post, Justice as Holiness, Part II: The Prophets.

In today’s Charismatic Christian circles, people are all too quick to throw around the labels of “prophet” and “prophetic” without understanding what the role and message of a biblical prophet truly was. Often people get caught-up in the sensationalism of the prophet as a messenger of G-d. However, what does it really mean to be a messenger of G-d?

Let’s not forget … Dr. King was a radical and not so different from the prophets of old. Jeremiah was considered a nudnik … Hosea married a harlot … they too were often considered eccentric and controversial.

One of the cardinal lessons of a prophet is that they are not motivated by social protocol, but by the leading and prompting of G-d. They will proclaim their message despite praise or persecution. And that was certainly the case with Dr. King. Many who praised him at one point often despised him at others. His stance on an issue was based on his true convictions, not because he sought to be popular. And what many do not often discuss is the fact that Dr. King was clearly motivated by the voice of G-d.

Dr. King was a great visionary, a great leader, a great man … and a great prophet to our generation. And like the prophets of old, in his own time many heeded the call … yet many more were repulsed. It is only after his death that he is truly appreciated.

Reverend Dr. King was only 39 years old when he was assassinated.

In closing, I’ll just end with a few of the most memorable quotes of Dr. King:

-“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

-“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

-“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

‎-“Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.”

-‎”Peace for Israel means security, and we must stand with all our might to protect its right to exist, its territorial integrity. I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world, and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy. Peace for Israel means security and that security must be a reality.”

-“I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

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