Ronnie Katz Gerber
Communications Chair, Hadassah Los Angeles Metro Region

D’Var Hadassah

Fig Trees in Israel - Courtesy: Hadassah
Fig Trees in Israel - Courtesy: Hadassah

This is our Julian and I suppose real New Year. Happy New Year, sisters. I’ve been thinking what might be appropriate for this moment, and a blank slate came into my empty mind. Fresh, new, equity and peace for us and all others. As I looked through the portion for some “drash” (meaning), I discovered one thing resonated: justice, equanimity, self-appraisal, love of a larger force which therefore allows love between/among us.

Forgiveness notwithstanding, how do we deal with and/or punish and weigh penitence — and how do we learn and progress from these aberrations? I know that’s not one simple thing. But this justice umbrella holds the well, the thoughts of righteousness and how we, as Jews, might examine our response to good and evil.

There’s an old tale, The Parable of the Two Watchmen. One blind the other lame. It goes like this:  Once there was a king who had a beautiful orchard with splendid figs. He appointed two watchmen to guard it. One was lame, the other was blind. Do you see where I’m going? One day the lame man said to the blind man, “I see beautiful abundant figs. Come, I will ride on your shoulders, and we can take and eat them.”  So, the lame man came to ride on the blind man’s shoulders-and they took the fruits and ate them.

Sometime later, the owner of the orchard came and inquired of them. “Where are those beautiful figs?” The lame man replied, “Have I feet to walk with?” The blind man replied, “Have I eyes to see with?”

What did the king do—what would we – you and I – do? Well, the king placed the lame man on the shoulders of the bind man and judged them as one. Justice?

Conspiracy? Equality before the law? This is how we might view the New Year which offers turbulence.

It’s not where the pandemic started or how. It’s how do we address it. It’s not a lack of bipartisanship in our government but how do we progress, not blame. It’s not who stole the cookies from the cookie jar, but how do we stop criminal misbehavior and replace our cookies on a new and equal platform. And it begins with us. And acknowledging a thing called justice not revenge.

I have many questions to pose, and the New Year allows for new strategies—I hope we come up with a few successful ones and have a brighter tomorrow.

About the Author
Ronnie Katz Gerber is currently Communications Chair for the Hadassah Metro Los Angeles Region and a member of the Hadassah Writers' Circle. A retired English and drama teacher for one of the largest school districts in California, she has written, directed and produced a handful of curriculum-based plays for her students and received a Los Angeles Awards nomination for her educational outreach through the arts. She has now turned her attention to columns, articles and short stories. Ms. Gerber is active in the community doing volunteer work and also spends her time pursuing her avid interest in travel. She has visited most of Europe, Russia and Africa, China and a bit of South America as well. Most springs, she hosts foreign exchange students for a month while they take an American culture and language crash course at a local university. As a result, she has spent time with them and their families abroad. Her family, especially her grand girls are the best activity of any day.
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