DAY 747: Thought on Israel — Our Smallness

July 17, 2014
By bethmordecai
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DAY 747: Thought on Israel — Our Smallness


You know that saying that “it’s hard to see the forest through the trees?” I used to think it simply meant being unable to see the big picture when you’re immersed in the details of what you’re doing. Now I think it also means that even if you have a sense of the bigger picture of what you’re doing, you may not be able to see the bigger picture of what the world is doing. That is to say that what we’re doing is only a small part of what’s happening in the world, and even if we are cognizant of how we impact the world, the world may have other things on its mind.

Take this week. Whether it is catching up on work, pastoring to the Witkin family through the funeral and shiva for Nate z”l (a man whose activism served the greater good of Perth Amboy for decades), or starting to prepare for the high holidays, I have a sense of the value of the work I do. I truly believe it makes a positive impact on the world. Yet, all of my efforts seem insignificant when compared to what’s happening in Israel right now — a conflict that has roots thousands of years old; a battle that strikes at the heart of what it means to be a Jew. In other words, it’s a forest in which the trees make me feel really small.

Any response I can muster — whether it’s sharing some interesting perspectives on the conflict as you’ll see attached, or reading an age appropriate story of the conflict for local Perth Amboy kids as I did yesterday, or talking about it during services this weekend — seems to pale in comparison to what’s actually happening. While I believe that each of our responses to this conflict are important, perhaps the most truthful (and powerful) response is simply to recognize our smallness in comparison to what’s happening. And once we are immersed in that feeling of humility, we can have the hutzpah to ask God to help deliver the people of Israel from harm and spread over them your Sukkah (shelter) of Shalom (peace).


Kol Tuv,


Rabbi Ari Saks

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