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Weekly Jewish Wisdom

JUNE 14, 2016

After Orlando

For what are we?
— Exodus 16:7

For most of us, the very word “Orlando” surfaces images of childhood fantasies. Whether you are at Disney World, Universal Studios or an actor playing a Mormon missionary and dreaming of the place you’d most like to be stationed, Orlando represents something innocent in the minds of most Americans. Until now...
When events like this shatter a piece of our comfortable assumptions about safety, security and tolerance, we often move from the initial stage of bewilderment to anger and then to questioning basic assumptions about our shared humanity. It is this last stage that is most pernicious because it eats away at hope and optimism. Years ago, I came across this translation of a passage from Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, first chief rabbi of what was then Palestine, in the introduction to Herbert Wiener’s Nine and Half Mystics. It gave him hope. It's always given me hope.

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