Thinking about the Sermon - Parshat Mishpatim
In synagogue last Shabbat, I discussed the different ways in which we can respond to tragedy or adversity.
There is often a tendency to erase the memory of what happened as represented in the demolition of the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In contrast, the Jewish approach is not to erase the past but to ask how we can write the next chapter, as exemplified in the aftermath of the Har Nof terrorist attack.
Remembering can also be dangerous if done wrongly. The Torah tells us not to hate the Egyptian because when we become consumed by hatred and resentment toward those who have wronged us, it is we who suffer.
Instead, the Torah tells us to remember the pain we felt in Egypt so that we can be sensitive to other people who are suffering or oppressed. Focus on the pain you experienced so you can be sensitive and compassionate to others but don't concentrate on the anger you feel toward those who hurt you.