Builders of Light • Rabbi Spratt’s Response to “National Day of Hate”
Feb 24 , 2023/Category

Builders of Light

Rabbi Spratt’s Response to “National Day of Hate”

This weekend, in synagogues around the world, we will read the details of the Tabernacle and the Jewish call to be builders of sacred connection.  At the same time, white supremacist groups are calling for Saturday to be a “National Day of Hate” and rallying supporters to engage in “mass antisemitic action.”  This juxtaposition – the responsibility to be builders of possibility against a backdrop of those seeking destruction and desecration – sadly speaks to an ancient pattern of Jewish peoplehood. 

This Shabbat, we offer gratitude to our community for our steadfast commitment to security, and ensuring our Sanctuary is truly a haven of safety for each of us.  In partnership with the dedication of the NYPD, we face Saturday with confidence and resolution – safety is our first priority.  Today and every day.  

Our Torah portion reminds us that we are also called to more than safety.  We are called to purpose.  In these verses we read of the detailed instructions of the menorah, the daily-lit lamp intended to illumine the Tabernacle and vanquish the darkness of the wilderness.  For the 16th Century rabbi Moshe Alshikh, the intention of the menorah was to signal the purpose of humanity.  In size and in the process of refinement, he believes the details of our text suggest we are here to be daily-lit beacons of light.  That is our purpose.  In the face of darkness, to be the light.  In the face of hate, to be the builders of sacred connection. 

This Shabbat, we will each sit in the same difficult choices as Jewish communities have faced for millennia.  We will have to weigh how we choose to spend these hours in the face of threat and fear.  Our security team and NYPD officers will be here, resolute and strong, as beacons of safety.  Our Sanctuary doors will be open ready for our community to gather, so we can raise light together and celebrate community and our Jewish pride.  We will lift our voices in song, offering anthems of hope, identity, and purpose.  And wherever you choose to be tomorrow, we hope we will each heed this call to be the light, and to be builders in the face of those seeking destruction.