Once more, a man filled with hate, with easy access to a military style semi-automatic rifle walked into a synagogue intending to kill Jews. Luckily, his gun jammed. Tragically, he murdered a woman before his rifle malfunctioned.
How do we respond to this act of terrorism and hate? I suggest we must respond by proudly and openly living our lives as Jews.
In this week’s Torah portion, Leviticus 18:5, we read, “You shall keep My statutes, and My ordinances, which a person must do, so they shall live by them: I am Adonai.” There are those in our country who foment hate and try to turn one citizen against another because of a difference in religion, or skin color, or national origin–politicians, pundits, and preachers who believe they can advance their own interests by sowing the seeds of division.
To live by God’s mitzvot means answering hatred with love, division by reaching out to others, and discord by helping those who are hurting. This has always been our people’s calling. This is how we bear witness to God’s revelation at Sinai.
To live by God’s mitzvot means finding ways to heal our society. It is time for us to do something. To choose a problem and work to ameliorate it, whether it be gun violence, mental health care, economic insecurity, or racism. The issue matters less than our taking action to make change.
Another answer is come to synagogue on Friday evening and stand together with your community and reaffirm that we are here and we stand together. I hope you will join us this Friday and the first and third Friday of every month. How will you answer hate?