“Only to the whole world” (Beyond 22)

Is the call “No Justice, No Peace” a threat or a prayer? “encapsulation of the lex talionis, an eye for an eye,” as Pat Buchanan says? a a statement of fact?

 By OsamaK (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (Creative Commons)], via Wikimedia Commons

By OsamaK (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (Creative Commons)], via Wikimedia Commons

This commentary on the Sim Shalom, the closing blessing and prayer for peace, at the end of the Amidah [Standing Prayer] discusses the Barcheinu Avinu verse: “Bless all of us as one, through the light of Your Presence.”

teaching from Shlomo Carlebach on “Sim Shalom

found on the Album “Songs of Peace” (recorded: 1973)
[Begins singing “Barcheinu Avinu,”
verse near the beginning of “Sim Shalom,”
then pauses for this teaching]
If I ask God: “Please give me, give me money, give me health” —
it is possible that I should be healthy,
but, God forbid, the rest of the world should not be.
I could be rich,
but the whole world, God forbid, can be poor.

But there is one precious thing I cannot ask God
just give it to me and not to the rest of the world,
and that is peace.
For it’s for the whole world or it isn’t there at all.
Because peace comes from such a high place in heaven,
it is only given to the whole world.
It’s not given to individuals, because it’s God Himself.

And now the thing is, there are a lot of lights in the world.
If I ask God: “Please put light into my soul, put light into my life,”
the question is: Where is this light coming from?
If I’m just asking for myself,
then the light comes from a very low place.

Everybody knows, everybody knows,
when we davven [pray] Shemona Esrei [“18”/Amidah]
three times a day, we ask all our needs.
But at the end we say: “Please, Almighty, Sim Shalom
– Let there be peace.”
And then we say: “Barcheinu avinu – please bless me**,”
but “kulanu ki echad – all of us like one
b’or panecha – with Your light.”
Because the light of God is only for the whole world:
it’s the light of peace, the light of love, the light of shabbes [sabbath].

So join me….
[Returns to singing again “Barcheinu Avinu”]
** more grammatically:
“bless us, Our Father [or Parent]”

Recalling Psalms 85:11 —
 חֶסֶד-וֶאֱמֶת נִפְגָּשׁוּ;    צֶדֶק וְשָׁלוֹם נָשָׁקוּ.
“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other”

— what does Shlomo’s teaching tell us about the call “No Justice, No Peace”?

We counted 22 on the evening of April 25. Tonight, we count….

Continue reading “Only to the whole world” (Beyond 22)

Hearts, Eyes and Ears: Ki Tavo Prayer Links

The Torah portion Ki Tavo closes with a wonderfully disorienting perspective, as the reading cycle prepares to leave the Israelites on the banks of the Jordan, while we, as readers, prepare for the new year. Who experienced what in the desert years? Who is about to enter the Promised Land, with instructions for bringing the first fruits? And who is in the exact same spot reached each year at this point, wondering about the meaning of the journey and what chance there is for moving forward?
Continue reading Hearts, Eyes and Ears: Ki Tavo Prayer Links