My oldest son Ben recently started reading bedtime stories to his younger brother. With one parent suddenly freed from this endless task, our evenings are calmer and I have the slightest bit more energy to attempt the rituals I imagine joyous Jewish families achieve regularly. I searched YouTube for Hashkeveinu, hit play, and watched our youngest son dance for the first time. Lay us down to sleep in peace, Adonai our G-d, and raise us up, our King, to life; spread over us the shelter of Your peace.
Sam swayed back and forth and eventually drifted to sleep while I thought about a sukkah of peace. A sukkah of peace is what I want for my children. Their lives should not be free from struggle, fear, pain, and sorrow, but I want my children to have peace in their hearts. I want them to be at peace with themselves, and use their self- assuredness to lift up those around them. I want them to draw strength and hope from the understanding that they are part of a 3,000 year old tradition and that their ancestors faced a frightening and uncertain future and did not let their hearts harden.
As the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzak Rabin draws near, I have been listening to Shir LaShalom, Song of Peace. So go and sing a song of Shalom, don’t whisper timid prayers. Go out and shout a song of Shalom, so everyone can hear...Don’t just say “A day will come,” go out and bring that day! This is an especially poignant message during the Days of Awe. Too often, I let my fear and anxiety manifest as cynicism instead of vulnerability, love, and work. This year, please join me in prayer and action to make peace a reality. Peace in our hearts and peace in the home. Peace in our country and peace among nations. Peace among all people and peace between humankind and all the world’s creatures and natural resources. Let the sound of the shofar stake a claim on your imagination and be a reminder of the strength within us to bring that day.