Winter Valentine Moon
Kate and I supplied bagels, schmear and fruit for the bagel table at Beth Evergreen yesterday. The bagel table is a casual shabbat service that includes the prayer book and the torah reading. Yesterday the parsha was va-er, Exodus 6:2-9:26, for the most part the story of the plagues sent by God on Egypt.
Rabbi Jamie said that in one instance the verb usually translated as go, as in Go to Pharaoh, is actually come. The meaning shifts a good deal with this understanding. Come to Pharaoh implies, according to Jamie, that God will be acting through Pharaoh. This falls under the difficult to understand category for me.
Kate and I talked about this idea as we drove up Brook Forest Drive. After some conversation, we decided that if you pull back, look from a historical view, then the actions of Pharaoh do work as part of God’s efforts on behalf of the Jewish slaves. His hardened heart provides the impetus, eventually, for the Exodus.
We then turned to our contemporary Pharaoh, the Trump. Could God (whatever you want to insert into this metaphysical placeholder) speak to us through the Trump? Jamie’s point was that we have to see the potential for God to speak us especially through those things or persons that we fear or despise. I suppose. Let’s try here.
Pulling back, taking the historical view, what possible liberating impulse could come from Trump’s presidency? (I take liberating impulse to equal God.) It’s true that Trump’s election highlighted the plight of the white working class, those with no more than a high school education. And, it may be, policies to address their concerns will lift all of the working class, high school educated folks. That would be an astonishing and welcome outcome, at least to me.
Too, we might consider the orders to build the wall, block Muslim refugees from certain countries, repeal the ACA, gut environmental regulations as a hardening of the heart, a so-obvious step away from justice and fairness, a big step away from a sustainable future for humanity on this planet, that the reaction to them will part the climate denying sea and create the political will for single payer health care, a return to Ellis Island immigrant welcoming that so many of us yearn for. Maybe. I suppose it could happen that way. May it be so.
As you can tell though, I’m skeptical. But, if it can be, I’ll be the first in line to admit my skepticism unwarranted.