Thursday, December 8th 2022   |

Off the Pulpit: An angel teaches politics

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

It may be that the most important biblical passage for our time is found in the book of Joshua:

“…he looked up and saw a man standing before him, drawn sword in hand. Joshua went up to him and asked him, ‘Are you one of us or of our enemies?’ He replied, ‘No! I am captain of the Lord’s host.’’ (Joshua 5:13,14).

“No!” The angel does not accept Joshua’s categories. Not everyone must be on one side or another; God has no team. In every group, there is some justice, some wisdom, some goodness. Certainly, there are things to oppose and to fight in this world, but the notion that one party or faction is repository of all virtue is fatuous and dangerous. Listen to the angel: God is greater than parties. If we catch some of that spirit, perhaps we can begin to heal the deep divisions that beset our nation and our world.

Rabbi David Wolpe is the senior rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.

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