I tried, but I just can’t. I read and re-read both the parasha and the haftarah, looking for something to use as a basis for what I know I wanted to write about. I couldn’t find it. (Read through to near the end of this and you’ll find a link to a post by someone who was able to find a connection, however tenuous it might be.)
Aside from the link I mentioned above, I’m mostly writing this for the sake of someone who may be reading this years from now (I can only hope.) I don’t know what’s been written about the history of this period, but here’s how it looks to me from here.
We are almost a month past the end of the first year of the presidential administration of Tonald J. Drump (that’s as close as I’ll come to writing that name, which, to me, is like writing
Haman.) I, along with millions of others in the United States, have been living in a state of utter disbelief and utter despair since election day in November 2016. On a daily basis societal, political, and presidential norms are challenged, overturned, ignored, rewritten.
All U.S. intelligence agencies tell us that the Russians actively worked to influence the results of the 2016 election in favor of the Drump campaign, and that we can expect them to continue their efforts to influence election results in 2018 and beyond. The administration continues to downplay this, attempting to cast doubt on the credibility of the intelligence community, and has given no directives to intelligence and law enforcement to actively work to prevent future interference. An Independent Counsel was empowered to investigate whether there was any cooperation between the campaign and administration to assist the Russians in their efforts. Along the way, actions of the administration have led the Independent Counsel to also investigate the administration for possible obstruction of justice. The administration, aided by the entirely Republican-controlled Congress has sought at every step to undermine the credibility of the Independent Counsel investigation. The administration, which has criticized and thus alienated many world leaders, has not once had anything negative to say about Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
The President has given favor and cover to white nationalists, abusive men, and sexual predators. He has hatefully made scapegoats out of huge segments of the population – particularly immigrants and other non-white male Christian types. He and his representatives lie candidly and openly on a daily basis. The churn and turnover at the White House has risen to unprecedented levels. Hundreds of staff are operating without full security clearances, and some are being allowed to continue working even though it has been made clear to the White House by the FBI that these people simply cannot be cleared for the levels of clearance required for their positions.
If you’re reading this years after 2018, I’ll assume that the United States has somehow survived as a free and democratic country (if it hasn’t you wouldn’t be able to read this anyway.)
This is what has become our new norm. There’s so much more to it but none of this is why I am unable to write a musing about the parasha today.
The reason I can’t write is about the parasha is that there was another mass shooting yesterday at a public High School in Florida. 17 people were killed – students and staff. Once again, we hear of “thoughts and prayers” and how it is too soon and wrong to politicize this by calling for gun control.
Torah commands us clearly that we should not stand idly by the blood of our neighbors. I cannot and will not stand by the blood of all those slain in the name of “second amendment rights.”
I’ll not make my case here. There are plenty who have written eloquently on the topic of gun control, school shootings, assault weapons, the second amendment, the NRA, etc. With each one of this horrid episodes comes the hope that this will be the one when the dam finally breaks and we the people are able to overcome the financial stranglehold of the NRA over our politicians. Will this be the one? I’m not hopeful, and you, potential future reader will know if it was. (I pray for your sake it was, or it came soon enough to spare your time from this scourge.)
If we couldn’t bring about needed change in this area under Obama, the chances of doing it under and all-Republican congress and a Drump administration are slim to none. In fact, the President actually promised the NRA publicly that in return for their support in his campaign, he would make sure they got what they needed.
I couldn’t do it, but on the RJ site, Rabbi David Wirtschafter was able to use the parasha as a stepping-off point to a post about this latest school shooting. I commend it to you, even though the connection is more tangential than I might consider viable.
I hope that next week I’ll be able to find some thread to pull at in the parasha. I hope that we all find the determination we need to make the changes this country needs to protect our children – to protect all of its citizens.
Ken y’hi ratson. Ken y’hi ratzoneinu. May this be G”d’s will. May this be our will.
©2018 by Adrian A. Durlester
Other Musings on this parasha:
T’rumah 5777 – You Still Gotta Wanna
T’rumah 5776 – Gift Cards for G”d
T’rumah 5775 – Dis Legonmenon Driving Me Crazy, Mon!
T’rumah 5774 – Dollhouse
T’rumah 5773 – Virtual Reality, Real Virtuality, or Really Virtual?
T’rumah 5772-When Wool and Linen Together Are Not Shatnez
T’rumah 5771 – TorahLeaks
T’rumah 5770 – Finessing Idolatry, or Outgrowing It?
T’rumah 5769 – Planning for Always
T’rumah 5767-You Gotta Wanna – The Sequel
T’rumah 5766-No Tools Allowed
T’rumah 5765-Ish Al Akhiv
T’rumah 5764-Redux 5760-Doing It Gd’s Way
T’rumah 5763-Semper Paratus
T’rumah 5762-Virtual Reality or Real Virtuality?
T’rumah 5760-Doing It Gd’s Way
T’rumah 5761-You Gotta Wanna