Magazine article Tikkun

High Holiday 5766 - Tikkun

Magazine article Tikkun

High Holiday 5766 - Tikkun

Article excerpt

Not to Speak God's Name

(A story for the days of awe )

Master of the Universe, it is Yom Kippur. And I should be in shul, I know, but the first hour passed and the friend I looked for did not appear. He was walking in the woods, as he said he would if the day was clear. And it is clear and cold for early Fall.

Left alone, I thought about your holy Name and I, too, was carried out of the sanctuary, to Haifa, where they struggled to scrape together enough of the dead for a burial worthy of their names and Yours. I thought of how the bomber probably had Your Name on her lips when she pressed the button, along with her father's and brother's names, since they had been killed in Your Name for butchering others in Your Name. I know--false equivalences. But however we want to parse the differences between suicide bomber and the child stillborn because of a blocked checkpoint, it's still the case that profanity, in the old and real sense of that word, flows like a polluted river in the words and deeds of all sides.

You get the point; it's an old complaint. But I'd like to offer you a new deal:

Everyone who can hear my voice and everyone who can't will pledge not to use Your Name for any violence that they may do. There's a catch, though: We forbid ourselves from using Your Name at all. Since we cannot seem to use it without sullying it, since if we continue to let it loose in our broken world, someone will find some way to turn blessing to curse, to justify bloodshed, to break the vow, it would be best if we swore not to mention Your Name at all in act or thought or wish or prayer, shouted or whispered, in mosque, synagogue, shrine, and/or church. …

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