We Jews are certainly familiar with plagues…
We’ve had plenty of them…
hurled from the heavens whenever someone has strayed… regardless of whether it’s Pharoah…
or one of our own idol-worshipping Hebrews…
who’s brought it on.
These, they are the Days of Awe
A cruel and angry year we saw
A shouting, tweeting, orange maw
A sad and insecure grandpa
A sadly Jewish son-in-law
Believe it or not, I found myself reciting the confession of sin, the beautiful Al Chait prayer we’re about to say, at the Miracle Theater in SE DC last year, shortly after a preview showing of the film Just Mercy. Those of you who saw it will recall that the film, about attorney Bryan Stevenson, focused on the plight of death row prisoners.
We feel short of breath, as if we have been climbing a steep slope. We long for a better place, where error ends, problems are resolved, separation ceases. We long for a unified world. We come to atone, to admit our sins, to change ourselves; to stop harming and start helping, to silence shouting and begin singing, to quit griping and praise profusely, to halt hatred and endorse understanding, to trade acid for sweet, bitterness for gratitude, agony for ecstasy. We are here to turn malice into kindness and hate into love.