Jews' Next Dor

Congregation Beth David's Young Adult Group for Jewish 20 & 30 Somethings

Today’s Jewel of Elul from Senator McCain

Posted by challahbackgirl on September 4, 2008

For the last few years, the Jewels of Elul website brings a different piece of wisdom and reflection from big names across a wide spectrum of disciplines. 29 days of inspiration as they bill it. Hop on over to the website to see who else has written, and to subscribe to a daily e-mail for each day of elul.

Today’s is from Senator John McCain (Senator Obama is advertised to be included as well, check back this month to look for his.):

Elul 4
Hope In Our Hands
Senator John McCain
The Jewish month of Elul is both a time for reflection and one of hope for the future.  Jewish tradition teaches that a person is judged on Yom Kippur, but afterwards the slate is wiped clean for the coming year.  No matter how bad the past, the future is always one of hope.

Indeed, one of Judaism’s greatest contributions is the lesson of hope.  Ancient civilizations believed in fate.  A man’s future was not in his own hands but in the stars.  The Hebrew Bible refuted that.  It taught that man is created in God’s image, and that God gave man free will.  It is a lesson of hope and destiny.

It is no coincidence that the oppressors of the Jewish people, from ancient times to today, are always those who have tried to stifle hope and freedom.  The reestablishment of the State of Israel and its repeated survival against all odds represents the legacy of hope the Bible infused in its people.

Natan Sharansky exemplifies the tradition of hope.  He spent nine years in the Soviet Gulag – 400 days were in punishment cells, and more than 200 days were on hunger strikes.  He never backed down or made a deal.  He knew his future was not predetermined; it was in his hands.

That lesson of hope is one that has helped me throughout my life.  And as we look to the future, it is helpful to remind ourselves that there is no problem or challenge we cannot overcome together.


One Response to “Today’s Jewel of Elul from Senator McCain”

  1. […] this month I brought you the Jewel of Elul for Senator John McCain.  Today, as I promised, I bring you the Jewel of Elul from Senator Barack Obama. Head on over to […]

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