Against a backdrop of the invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign nation, this week’s Torah portion, Pikudei, reminds us to bring forth light where there is darkness and to offer our bounty as an expression of love and commitment to the other, whether that other is God or nation, family or community. This religious constant, which is a way of understanding how the divine speaks through the human spirit to act and be in relationship, offers us a critical paradigm for all relationships.
As Americans, as Coloradans, and as a community, we stand in relationship to and are shaped by multiple, intersecting frameworks of values, including those of Judaism. As both Americans and as Jews, we are doubly impacted by the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine.
And while it is difficult not to feel overwhelmed by the tragedy unfolding in Eastern Europe—and indeed difficult to know what to do—Judaism compels us to respond; ours is a moral tradition, with a strong sense of imperative to acknowledge and address misdeeds large and small, to make right what is wrong.
The principles of autonomy and independence when trampled on have cost—will continue to cost—millions of our people their lives. The catastrophe of World War II, from which the United Nations was ultimately borne, cost the lives of six million of our people alone.
Those principles are being trampled upon once again, and the moral imperative is upon us. Our parsha reminds us that there are times, like now, when it is incumbent upon us to shine forth with absolute moral clarity. Russia must be stopped, and it is we who must be the light.
Rabbi Jay Strear
President & CEO
Please email Rabbi Strear at CEO@JEWISHcolorado.org with comments or questions.