As translated by Everett Fox, this chapter begins with God instructing Moshe to tell the Children of Israel, What is done in the land of Egypt, wherein you were settled, you are not to do; what is done in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you, you are not to do; by their laws you are not to walk. My regulations you are to do, my laws you are to keep, walking by them. Of course this is followed by a laundry list of sexual encounters that must be avoided, but to me, the very first lines speak more broadly. The Children of Israel, they are not really Jews yet, have been living as slaves in Egypt for 400 or so years, and were then moving into the land of the Canaanites. They were always a people apart, and that is the way it was supposed to be. By following their own set if laws and not the ways of those around them, this small group was able to survive. They survived the destruction of their kingdom, twice. And by transforming into Rabbinical Jews, and staying a people apart, have been able to survive for close to 2000 years. We were instructed not to assimilate, and its worked. At least for now.
Right now, anti-semitism is once again rearing its ugly head, right in our midst. Some of it is right out there in the open, as when eggs were thrown at a memorial service in London, commemorating a World War II bombing that killed 134 people, mostly Jews. And some of it is cloaked in Anti-Zionism, as it is on many college campuses. When we try to hide who we are, and forget that we are a people apart as God commanded, we allow this to happen.
On Sunday, May 15, we have a chance to show our community who we are. That we stand with Israel. Regardless of whether we agree with their government, we need to show our support of the Israeli people. Our people. Please join us, right here in Oak Park, for our Solidarity with Israel Walk.