Like many of you, my heart shattered as I watched the insurrection at the US Capitol. News blaring in the background, tears streaming down my face, I thought, “What am I teaching my children?” As a collective society blessed to live in this beautiful country, what are we teaching our children? As a rabbi who daily, beseeches God to extend heaven’s peace onto this earth, what do our children need to hear and glean from this very moment? From this year? Through this trauma and ravaged emotional state?
And so, to my children, I will teach:
~You are safe in my arms and I will do everything in my power to protect you. But as human beings, as Jews, we must stand together and ensure that same privilege of safety for every child of God.
~You have a right to use your voice. But to always remember, words hold the power to create and likewise, hold the power to destroy. Use your words to build worlds, create sacred connections, and lift souls. Let your voice be a beacon of light.
~You are better than the images of hate and destruction displayed across our screens. Use your hands for moments of embrace. Channel your anger and rage through acts of loving kindness. Choose role models that engage in civil dialogue and productive conversation. Seeks paths that lead to understanding.
~You plant the seeds for a better tomorrow. My children, as much as we want to close our eyes at this dark moment in history, widen your gaze. Remember, you are the change-makers. You are the bearers of peace. Observe. Feel. Absorb. Learn. But then my precious babies, with determination and persistence, fight for a brighter future. For yourself and for generations to come.
According to the Midrash, the angels questioned and interrogated God in the decision to create human beings. God gave a convincing rebuttal, remarking on the human being’s wisdom and intellect. And even though the traditional text seems to highlight humanity’s mental discernment, I implore all of us to teach our children that true wisdom is paired with the heart. We inherit a world in which too often, our hearts remain closed. Shut off. Disengaged with that which seems frightening or different.
Open those eyes. Open those hearts. I will teach my children to always, be worthy of their creation.
Rabbi Nicole Guzik is a rabbi at Sinai Temple. She can be reached at her Facebook page at Rabbi Nicole Guzik.