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D'var Torah - Perashat Naso & Memorial Day

05/24/2018 05:05:00 PM


Rabbi Hayyim Kassorla


Memorial Day should be quite significant in our lives. Many among us have seen their share of wounded troops and deaths that have devastated families, and they have also celebrated the safe return of young men and women who are happy to be home.

We remember all those who died in service to our country, as well as applaud those who serve our country today to protect the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution and some basic liberties that we all too often take for granted. And so let us take a moment to review some of these liberties and freedom:

FREEDOM TO TRAVEL: Anyone of us - providing we want to and have the means to do so - can pick ourselves up and visit or live anywhere in the country without having to notify the police, either here, or in the place to which we may go, without having to state our purpose for moving or traveling, and without having to get official permission from anybody to move.

FREEDOM TO DISSENT: We do not have any government-sponsored rallies that people must attend. We may attend rallies, even protests, without government approval or intervention (provided they are within the framework of the constitution). We may agree or disagree with speakers, or you might even come out of curiosity and not care. You may nod your head, grit your teeth, speak words of dissent, or let your mind wander.

FREEDOM TO WORK: Providing you have the ability, you are willing to work, and you have the good fortune to find employment, America, far more than any other country, is the land of opportunity with freedom of occupation, freedom of profession, and freedom of residence opportunity – political, social, educational, and economic – is broadening, and will continue to broaden so that all Americans – regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, mental abilities and physical capabilities – will reap the full harvest of American liberty and freedom, working side-by-side with a sense of unified community. 

GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE: Abraham Lincoln said that ours was a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. He made it clear that government is the servant, not the master of our society. We put elected officials in office: they work for us, and we hold them accountable for their actions (or inactions) to us. Just yesterday I hope all of us voted. If we are pleased with their performance, they get our votes at the next election. If we do not like how they are doing their jobs, we get into that polling booth and vote against them: for we are a free people.

We pray that an end may come to all wars when nations learn to live in peace with their neighbors on this troubled planet. We echo the vision of the prophets, when swords will be turned into plowshares and tanks into tractors, spears into pruning hooks and warships into ships delivering hospital supplies.

Finally, we pray for the time when humanity will give priority to the Godly attributes that reflect the Divine Image in which we are made: when we all place compassion, kindness, forgiveness, patience, impulse control, and that the earth be full of the awareness of the Lord, and that peace reign supreme for all time.

And so on this Memorial Day, I ask that you not only think about a leisurely day spent at the lake, or home - having a barbeque, but that you also take the time to think about those who have served our country so that we may have these liberties and freedoms, always. Amen

Thu, October 1 2020 13 Tishrei 5781