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Reb Lisa's Message


In last week’s Parasha, Bereishit, God brings all of existence into being. Creation.

By the end of Parashat Bereishit, God rethinks the whole plan and makes the stunning declaration: “I will blot out from the earth humankind whom I created—humans together with beasts, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I regret that I made them.”

The Parasha that kicks off the Torah reading cycle begins with a creative act and closes with the possibility of destroying it all.

Why? Why is The Holy One ready to give up on humanity? We learn that it is from human evilness.

We pick up on this grim outlook in this week’s Parasha, Noach. While Noah, his family, and two of each animal, are spared, God destroys everything else. The earth and its inhabitants must be cleansed of violence and corruption.

Every year when we read Parashat Noach, we are forced to confront this aspect of humanity–evilness and violence.

Tragically now, every year on October 27th, we are forced to confront how real and close to home this kind of evil is. Tomorrow we mark the 4th anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting in Pittsburgh. Unthinkable. Horrifying.

And yet, not by any stretch of the imagination, is this the worst massacre of Jews. And sadly, hatred and evil extend beyond the Jewish community as well.

So while we are forced to grapple with the human capacity for evil, we also remember and cling to the human capacity for love and kindness. We draw on our longing to connect and to repair. We grow in strength in our ability to comfort and heal.

And we remember…

May the memories of

Joyce Fienberg, Richard Gottfried, Rose Malinger, Jerry Rabinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein Melvin Wax, and Irving Younger

be forever for a blessing.

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