For Yom Kippur 9.25.09
- Kol Harrisburg
9.25.09All the News Views and Schmooze Harrisburg Jews Can UseYom Kippur Reflections on Peace and Reconciliation
byDr. Ed Beck, Publisher and Editor, Kol Harrisburg
President, Scholars for Peace in the Middle EastThursday night, as I sat in the auditorium of the great 92nd Street Y listening to Eli Wiesel introduce Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu after his speech to the UN, I was haunted by Wiesel's exhortation to be more mindful of the real threats of one's enemies than the promises of ones friends.
I was particularly taken with this thought as Yom Kippur approaches. Knowing of Wiesel's eloquence to reflect on the human soul and condition, I had to ask myself what am I doing to better understand the enemies of our people in order to be able to ethnically and morally work for peace and reconciliation. If I listen to only those who agree with me, are my admissions before G-d and the community really meaningful or are they empty?
Yitzah Rabin (z'l) remind us that one doesn't make peace with ones friends but with one's enemies, which means that one has taken the time to understand one's enemies and work to some resolution. We must be receptive to doing this.As I prepare today to observe Yom Kippur, and prepare for the Yahrzeits of my brother and father-in-law, I seek forgiveness from all those I have offended and forgive all of those who have offended me. Furthermore it is my hope that as each one of us forgives and is forgiven, we become better people in terms of our understanding and relating to one another. And so I also ask for better understanding of those with whom I may disagree and with those who may disagree with me.
True repentance is meaningless unless it results in the betterment of comportment and behavior amongst us all. We must commit to more civil and tolerant of relations towards one another whether we are discussing interdenominational issues or the complex issues of the Middle East. We must find the language of understanding and enlightenment and not the language of narrow-mindedness and darkness. If we are to find the peace and life we pray for, we must find the worth and dignity of the other and not just in ourselves. While we must never forget our own history of persecution and suffering, we must be sensitive and responsive to the persecution and suffering of others or our admissions before the community and G-d are empty.This Yom Kippur, I ask each of you to ask, how am I leaving the world better than I found it? How am I better understanding and responding to those whom I don't understand or with whom I disagree? What steps am I taking to better understand others? Honest answers to these questions can only enhance our own striving to enhance ourselves in our local community and throughout the world.May each of you and your loved ones be inscribed in the Book of Life for a Peaceful and Healthy Year.News and Views From Around the Nation and Around the WorldClick here: Rabbi Stewart Weiss: When we face death can we find our true mission | Jewish Features | Jerusalem PostClick here: Palestinian Leaders Deny Jerusalem's Past - WSJ.comOpen Attachment for Netanyahu's Speech to the United Nations September 24, 2009Click here: Fatah, Hamas both say they're close to taking Egypt's plan | Middle East | Jerusalem PostClick here: Michael Oren still 'enjoying every minute' as Israel's envoy to U.S. - Haaretz - Israel News