It’s been raining for the past two weeks, and with each downpour, I’ve been twisting my head and turning my neck, looking for a rainbow — storm after storm, and I wasn’t having any luck.
Then, on Monday night, Rabbi Max and I were driving home from dinner and I finally twisted my head and turned my neck to see THE MOST BEAUTIFUL RAINBOW. Her arches formed over a golden, violet, and deep blue sky. My jaw dropped as we drove, we made a turn, and then suddenly we were able to see the entire arch of the rainbow.
With eyes wide, I began to recite the blessing we have the honor to say upon seeing such a marvelous wonder:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, zocher hab’rit v’neeman biv’rito v’kayam ma-amaro.
Blessed are You, Source of Eternity, who remembers, is faithful to, and fulfills Your covenant with a promise to creation.
Seeing a rainbow is a reminder that God is in relationship with us, but not just the “us” of the Jewish people. Sure, the rainbow reminds us of our covenant, but everyone who was outside in those moments could see that magnificent rainbow. We are all in this …
[And this is where I was in my typing when an alert came through my phone that there has been another shooting at a workplace in this country, and my recollections of the beauty of the rainbow are fading.]
I was going to finish that sentence so that it read, “We are all in this together.” Even with this news, I know that whether we agree or disagree on certain issues, we are moving through this life together.
I was just moments away from citing the text of Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5, which shares that Adam was created first, as just one person, to promote peace among creations, so that no one could say, “My ancestors are greater than yours.” As I went back to the text, I realized that the preceding sentence was an eerie reminder: “Anyone who destroys a life is considered by tradition to have destroyed an entire world, and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world.”
May we be like those who save an entire world. May we work toward finding ways for humanity to overcome the violence. May we reach a day, where the only urgent phone alerts are for simchas, joyous occasions.
If the rainbow is truly a symbol of peace, we must find a way to end this violence. I pray for the day when the rainbow in the sky stretches over the American skyline, and we all live in a time in which workplace and school shootings are no more. For now, may that rainbow in the sky reminds us of what we have to overcome.
Oseh Shalom bimromav, hu yaaseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisrael, v’al kol yoshvei teiveil, v’imru Amen.
May the One who makes peace in the high heavens make peace for us, for all Israel and all who inhabit the earth. Amen.