Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Haftorah Beam - BeShalach

I had a mental block on this for 2 weeks, and now I know why.

This Haftorah shares the theme of song with the Torah portion: In the Torah, Miriam leads the Children of Israel in song after crossing the Sea of Reeds, safely away from their Egyptian oppressors.  In the Haftorah, Deborah sings in celebration of victory over the Canaanites.  The songs are both full of militaristic glee which can be dissonant to modern sensibilities, and yet convey a very powerful, human emotion.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  This article showed up in my FaceBook feed. Please read it.  I will summarize the article in order to get to the conclusion, but the article deserves to be read in its entirety.
But this is what the great Dr. Martin Luther King accomplished. Not that he marched, nor that he gave speeches.
He ended the terror of living as a black person, especially in the south.
This constant low level dread of atavistic violence is what kept the system running. It made life miserable, stressful and terrifying for black people. 
This is the climate of fear that Dr. King ended.
The question is, how did Dr. King do this—and of course, he didn't do it alone....So what did they do?
They told us: Whatever you are most afraid of doing vis-a-vis white people, go do it. Go ahead down to city hall and try to register to vote, even if they say no, even if they take your name down.
If we do it all together, we'll be okay.
They made black people experience the worst of the worst, collectively, that white people could dish out, and discover that it wasn't that bad. They taught black people how to take a beating—from the southern cops, from police dogs, from fire department hoses. They actually coached young people how to crouch, cover their heads with their arms and take the beating. They taught people how to go to jail, which terrified most decent people.
And you know what? The worst of the worst, wasn't that bad.
Once people had been beaten, had dogs sicced on them, had fire hoses sprayed on them, and been thrown in jail, you know what happened?
These magnificent young black people began singing freedom songs in jail.
That, my friends, is what ended the terrorism of the south. Confronting your worst fears, living through it, and breaking out in a deep throated freedom song.

And that is what this Parsha is about.
Confronting your worst fears, living through it, and breaking out in a deep throated freedom song.
What was I doing on MLK Day?

My wonderful husband started an informal organization of Barbershop singers, Healing Harmony Quartets, to sing in hospitals.  Yesterday we visited Lyla Spitz, who is recovering from open heart surgery at Children's Hospital Boston.  She was tired and in pain after coming of the strong painkillers, and did not want to get up from her chair.  But when the music started she was unstoppable!  She danced and smiled and followed the singers as they made their way around the floor, singing for other patients and staff.  Such is the power of music to liberate people from both external oppression and internal suffering.

And today, this.

Now I understand why I wasn't motivated to write something generic 2 weeks ago.  This is what this parsha is about.

The Music of Freedom.

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