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June 13, 2016 / Rabbi Laura

“Lo alecha” moment

I’m having another “lo alecha” moment right now.

One of my favorite ancient Jewish sages, Rabbi Tarfon taught:

Lo alecha ha’melacha ligmor, v’lo ata ben horin l’hibatel mi’mena

It is not our obligation to complete the work, but nor are we free to refrain from doing it.

In light of yesterday’s tragedy (that seems like such a cliché word these days) in Orlando, I’ve been struggling with what to do. I feel helpless.

Where do I start?

With teaching and advocating for tolerance of those who are different.  Aren’t we all different? I’m already doing that. Last night we participated in not one, but two peace vigils.  We gathered with interfaith friends and colleagues at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno and then again with Gay Central Valley to march and pray and cry and yell. Is it making a difference?


Do I  build bridges with my interfaith community, especially in support of my Muslim friends who are just as saddened and distraught?  I’m already doing that. I spent more time this weekend with my Muslim friends – at a Ramadan iftar than with anyone of any other faith. Is it making a difference?


With political action to put an end of the ownership of assault weapons? One presidential candidate says it’s too late to do that. “There are already millions of them out there.” Well, that’s an inane reason! When the AIDs epidemic was ravaging the world, did we say, “there are just too many sick people out there, so we don’t need to find a cure.”  With the numbers of people in our country who go hungry every day, do we say, “there are just too many hungry people out there to feed, let’s just give up on them; they’re on their own!” No! Of course not. And now, we are dealing with yet another mass shooting. Are all the emails and phone calls to our political leaders making a difference?

So, this morning, I’m stuck. I know I must continue to do the work.  I am not free to refrain from it!  But, where do I pick up and begin again?



  1. Marilyn / Jun 13 2016 1:04 pm

    You just did.

  2. Beverly Ciheb / Jun 13 2016 1:40 pm

    We need to begin by not selling AR15 rifles.
    It will take long to get rid of haters but they won’t be able to do much damage at once

  3. rabbiadar / Jun 13 2016 2:02 pm

    I love the”lo alecha” graphic!

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