Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Right Place at The Right Time

Parshat VaYakhel
19 Adar I, 5771
February 23, 2011

Last night I met Rabbi David Saperstein, head of the legendary Religious Action Committee – the political arm of the Reform movement.
Rabbi Saperstein gave us the history of the RAC. This took a long time. The RAC was party to the iconic moments of the last half century: the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act were drafted in the RAC’s conference room. They were the first Jewish organization to oppose the Vietnam War. They provided relief during the Ethiopian famine. They’ve done a lot.
            At one point Rabbi Saperstein was asked how he came to head the RAC. He seemed a little taken aback, and then said, “I was just in the right place at the right time.” Then he regaled us with stories of his activism as a young rabbi.
The Talmud teaches:
R. Joshua ben Levi asked Elijah, the prophet, "When will the Messiah come?" "Go and ask him himself." "Where is he sitting?" "At the gates of Rome." "What will identify him?" "He is sitting among the poor lepers; while all of them untie all [their bandages] at once, and rebandage them together, he unties and rebandages each separately, saying 'I might be needed, so I must not be delayed.' "
--Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 98a
Mashiah too will be in the right place at the right time, when redemption finally arrives. I think that Rabbi Saperstein will be rather amused by the comparison, but he might grant me that, in every serendipitous moment, there is a piece of our souls that has been waiting a long, long time to be revealed.

No comments:

Post a Comment