Posts tagged hope
Dancing Between Constraints and Spaciousness: The Message of Tisha B’Av

Min hameitzar karati Yah, anani b’merkhav Yah.

The very depth of brokenness can become a gateway to newfound wholeness. This line speaks of the resilience we access when we embrace life’s messiness. It suggests that, as we accept the “both and” nature of life, we gain a larger perspective. When we turn towards the challenging experiences we face, rather than try to avoid them, we may find that they open us up to something larger than ourselves.

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Writing the World into Being (Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon 5779)

Rosh Hashanah celebrates the birthday of the world, yom harat olam. The moment the universe shimmered with possibility. That is why we say, “On Rosh Hashanah it is written”: the ink is still fresh. We imagine what words might fill the pages of the year ahead. But it’s so hard to stay focused on the white space of this new chapter when our vision is cluttered with headlines.

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Hope in the Margins

Our certainty that things cannot change offers us psychological protection by forcing us to abandon our expectations. But it also obscures the reality that change is a property intrinsic to everything that exists—our bodies, our relationships, even our social and political institutions. Opposed to our surety, hope locates itself in the premises that we do not know what will happen, and that in the spaciousness of that uncertainty is room to act. Torah invites us to imagine all that is still unknown sitting in the twilight, waiting to be thrust into history in order to embrace an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists—which excuses both groups from acting.

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Joyful “Seeing”

A few weeks ago, the largest glacier everbroke off the Antarctic ice shelf. As global temperatures soar and shorelines shrink at an accelerated rate, we become more aware of ways in which our resources are limited. This is compounded by our reactions to these realities. We fear the instability we are witnessing around the world and feel compelled to hold onto whatever resources might help us maintain our sense of safety, however illusory, for a little bit longer.

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Descended From Trauma Enriched By Hope

The first person to toast my sister and her fiancé at their rehearsal dinner was a descendent of Mrs. Hamilton. She recalled her grandmother, a “righteous gentile” who had sponsored our grandfather and his family to immigrate to America in 1938. She described how delighted our grandparents would be to see our families gathered together for this celebratory moment. I wasn’t the only one moved to tears by the way she brought their memories into this rite of passage in our family.

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Watching, Waiting, Reflecting: Dreaming in Times of Darkness (Parshat Bo, Exodus 10:1-13:16)

The world seems like a dark place right now. I don’t know if there is any way to effectively battle institutional racism, or the rampant capitalism that is all but destroying the middle class — or how to respond to a global climate crisis that has, by the estimations of most of the scientific community, passed its tipping point. I am afraid of what might happen next. When did my sense of trust that the world is always progressing toward some greater good all but vanish?

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