Lee Diamond – Our flag as our symbol & Is this chicken kosher?
That blue and white flowing sheet
With the Magen David in its midst
With the similarity
To the biblically commanded
Thread of “techelet” blue
It Tells a story
Of who we are.
A story of a nation
With roots, with hope, with pride
With a sense of amazement
At our length of being
And our continuing reality
Who could have imagined that
It would fly again among the nations
Fly like an upward bound “hoopoe bird”
From Med, to Red, to Dead to kineret
It’s the flag I love
The symbol of the land I love
The home of the free Jew.
It fills me with pride and some holiness
Pride that I’m counted amongst the nations
Holy as the threads of blue defining, reminding
To be kissed with closed eyes
To remind that I am unique
And the need
In my life.
The Magen David of this flag was worn on OUR armband
It was a symbol of our disgrace
It reminded them that we were trash
They trashed us with this star
Yet we transformed it
Transformed this yellow
Into a blue on a white
We were pure again
With a thread of techelet
Can a flag be holy?
Is that crude nationalism?
Can a flag be misused?
Should a flag be worn
In Birkenau by a prideful youth?
Is this emblem to be kept holy
Aside, different, unique and for
Occasions of deep expression of
The joy of mitzvah
Or the tragedy of loss?
It is painful when the flag is burned
It is painful to see a tattered flag, neglected
It is painful to see this symbol
And worn as a garment
By children at the beach
Or innocent teens expressing new found pride
Or by a minister of our government
Wearing our holy symbol
As a prideful gown.
It is ok to maintain the holiness
Of our Symbols
To keep that thin thread
The thread of a heart beating true
Of a Passionate Jew
Is this chicken kosher?
Rabbi” is this chicken kosher ?
And such was the role of a rabbi?
He studied, he learned and he decided!
Matters of Halacha were in his hands.
Once one rabbi gave a ruling, one could not seek another rabbinic ruling.
The authority of the rabbi came from
“Semicha” also known as Yoreh Yoreh
Semicha was the act of passing on rabbinic authority from generation to generation
Yoreh was the rabbi as teacher
Yadin reflected the rabbi as decider-judge.
But the authority of the rabbi cane
From his community as well.
The community chose Its rabbi
Though the rabbi was “Mara D’Atra”
(The local teacher and judge)
The rabbi was chosen by the community!
Good judgement was in the hands
Of the appointed Mara D’Atra
And in the hands of the community.
The rabbi was a leader of the
Length and breadth of Jewish tradition
Jewish history and Jewish reality
He walked ahead of the Jews
And was not a “heksher” gebber” —-He could not make an “unkosher” chicken kosher.
But as time flowed by the will of God
So too did this flow of time
Affect the Jew
And the question of the “kosher chicken”
Was less asked
And new questions emerged
And the rabbi needed to continue
To be teacher – judge
To different questions of the Jews
Different questions needed appropriate answers from
Rabbis, steeped in the tradition
And committed to its future
In the new day which had dawned
But as before, rabbis needed to
Despite their job safety.
There was no way of making a “fowl” decision.
Communities could select a rabbi
Rabbis could select a community
Tradition had to flex its muscles
To be “Flexible” but muscular
Some Rabbis swam with the stream
Some Rabbis swam against the stream
Some rabbis maintained the tender balance
Between love of the tradition
And love of the Jews.
To Illustrate this balance:
Two rabbis were walking down the road
A woman approached them who was quite upset
She showed them a chicken and said
It’s soon Shabbat
I fear that this chicken is not kosher
And I have nothing else for my family
The older rabbi examined the chicken, smiled and said: kosher
The woman smiled and left
The younger rabbi asked the older
How could you declare that the chicken was kosher?
It obviously was not!!!!!!
And the older rabbi responded
I wasn’t examining the chicken
I was examining the heart of this woman.
The rabbi today, the Raba today
Must answer to the chicken and the
Jewish soul. There is an answer !
And Lead !!