Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Faithful Advocacy - Part 3

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth...”  (The Gospel of John 14:16-17a, NRSV)

The pursuit of justice is one of Judaism’s central themes. From the prophets who cry out, demanding that we care for those who are on the margins of society; to the many mitzvot (commandments), obligating us to share with those in need, welcome the stranger, and regularly forgive debts; to the well-known instruction, “Justice, Justice, you shall pursue!” (Deut. 16:20), Jewish tradition insists that we construct societies that are fair and just for all people. It recognizes, too, that although not everyone is a decision-maker, each person is obligated to do what she can. According to one rabbinic saying, “If [a person] sits in his home and says to himself, ‘What have the affairs of society to do with me? Let my soul dwell in peace!’—If he does this, he overthrows the world.” (Midrash Tanhuma, Mishpatim 2)

For too many years, I sat at home and left justice work to others. Now I am actively involved, but I still sometimes feel afraid and under-qualified. Here, I draw inspiration from the story of Moses, the quintessential “reluctant prophet.” When God called Moses to lead, Moses was afraid and doubted himself. But God promised to be with him and guide him. Moreover, God sent someone—Moses’ brother, Aaron—to help him. In my own life, every time I have left my comfort zone, I have found unexpected friends and helpers along the way. My tradition demands that I do what I can to bend the world toward justice—but it doesn’t want or expect me to do it alone.

This is the third post about Faithful Advocacy from Guest Writers LeeAnne, Amanda & Yaira. Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2.  Please join their conversation by leaving your comment below.  

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