Author of "Embracing Auschwitz" and "Mensch•Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi - Wisdom for Untethered Times." Winner of the Rockower Award, the highest honor in Jewish journalism and 2019 Religion News Association Award for Excellence in Commentary. Musings of a rabbi, journalist, father, husband, poodle-owner, Red Sox fan and self-proclaimed mensch, taken from essays, columns, sermons and thin air. Writes regularly in the New York Jewish Week and Times of Israel.
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Praying for the Jews of Colleyville
In This Moment
Our prayers go out out to the congregants of Congregation Beth Israel of Colleyville Texas, as the hostage situation there continues to unfold. Some media outlets are justifiably reticent to give details right now. One outlet you can check for information is JTA. Because of the pandemic, turnout was (thankfully) very low at their morning Shabbat service, as most attendees were participating though Zoom. The streaming broadcast was helpful in providing valuable, real-time information to authorities.
Whatever transpires, it can't go unnoticed that once again the Jewish community is being singled out for an act of violence. We expect anti-Semitic acts such as these to be expressly condemned by government officials and others in authority.
But right now, the focus must be on those innocent congregants and rabbi who are in immediate danger. The congregation is a Reform synagogue, and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, leader of the URJ, tweeted this out earlier:
In the spirit of Rabbi Jacobs' request, certain psalms are often recited at times like this, in particular a series of ten psalms compiled by Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav, called the "ha-Tikkun ha-Klali, "the General Remedy."
According to the Talmud (Pesaḥim 117a) there are ten kinds of songs in the Book of Psalms: Ashrei, Beracha, Maskil, Nitzuach, Shir, Niggun, Mizmor, Tefilla, Hoda'ah, and Halleluyah. In the early 19th century, Rebbe Nachman, a great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, taught that the recitation of ten psalms, each representing one of these categories, could act as a Tikkun (remedy). Their recitation would help lead to an awareness of the divine presence that permeates and enlivens this world.