March 30, 2020

Understanding the Work of Redemption

By Rabbi Mark Borovitz

I am sitting in my office and thinking about this Blog. I realize that I write each week about a different news item and turn it towards Redemption. Today, I am writing about Redemption, itself.

Redemption is defined as “getting/restoring something back.” I find this to be so true and so elusive. Each day, myself and many others are in the search/business of redeeming ourselves and others. We are willing to pay a high price for our Redemption, namely, changing our ways and getting out of old habits. This is very difficult. It is very hard. Many people don’t understand this simple fact because they have never seen themselves as needing redemption/needing to be redeemed. How sad that there are so many blind people!

In doing this daily work of Redemption, one of the truths that I have discovered/learned is that I will always disappoint someone. I will never be perfect; I will never get it all right. My community will disappoint me and my community will disappoint itself. No matter how much work I do on redemption, I will always find new/old things that have to be redeemed. No matter how great a community any of us are part of, we will always be disappointed and disappoint others in our community.
So, Rabbi, what is the solution? I have one: Acceptance. Let’s accept the truth of the above statements. Let’s accept these facts and, rather than get mad and leave, let’s lean in and work to redeem the core principles and values of ourselves, others and communities. Opting out is not a solution, it leaves a hole in the communal structure, it leaves a hole in our inner structure and it leaves a hole in our relationships.

Leaning in means that we stay Addicted to Redemption, we do our own inventory; we listen to others when they have resentments and/or rebukes and/or suggestions as to how we can live better. In this way, we live our lives out loud, without fear of rejection (knowing sometimes we will reject and be rejected and this is temporary) and with the ability to breath in freedom and love, joy and God.

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