This week’s Torah portion includes a commandment that is very much at the heart of Judaism: “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil.” This week’s Torah portion includes a commandment that is very much at the heart of Judaism: “You shall not follow a multitude to do evil.” Yes, it is easy to conform to the majority, however wrong and malevolent their behavior. Courage and idealism are essential if we are to adhere to our principles and convictions when they are not popular.
One of our great sages, named Hillel, taught that “in a place where no one behaves like a human being, you must strive to be human!” What a beautiful and compelling message for us and our children, as we recognize that all that evil needs to prevail is for good people to remain silent and to themselves.
Surely Jewish history is filled with episodes where supposedly good and decent people remained silent. So also were there too many who did “follow the multitude to do evil.” Yes, Judaism is a protest against all forms of evil, as we are admonished to stand strong in our values and ideals, even when they are unpopular.
That’s one of the many reasons for why I am proud to be a Jew. So many times throughout history when our ancestors said “no” to the majority and dared to be identified as “different.” Let us embody that same strength, and let us be among those who bring healing and goodness to our world.
Shabbat Shalom, and please join us tonight as we will hear from some of our congregants who recently spent time in Puerto Rico, providing comfort, support and vision.