From the Baltimore Jewish Times, November 7, 1986
our resolutions--must be touched not
only by dreams of what might be, but also
by an awareness of how things are.
The Biblical prophets teach of this ten-
sion between dream and reality. They
speak of swords changed to ploughshares,
and spears to pruning hooks. But they
also teach that ploughshares must
sometimes become swords, and pruning
hooks change to spears. [Joel]
The challenge before us is to hold onto
tomorrow's dreams, but to struggle with
today's reality: to learn from faith that
dreams must give plans and actions direction;
but to learn from life that reality must give
The challenge is to hold onto world
dreams, but not to live in dream worlds.
Malka Resnicoff sports a reminder There is a story about a zookeeper who
of her father's trip to Reykjavik. opened a cage where a lion and lamb were
lying down together, true to the Biblical
promise. After some days, a reporter
pressed him for his secret. "It's easy," he
Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff delivered the
following sermon at his Yom Kippur
service in Iceland, during the summit
talks last month between Ronald Reagan
and Mikhail Gorbachev.
For individuals and for peoples. Yom
Kippur brings a message, a challenge, and
The message is that we can change--
and, through our actions, we can affect
and change the world. The challenge is
that we must change; break free from the
past, and build a better future. The warn-
ing is that change will not be easy: the
world is not perfect, and we cannot act
as if it is. It is filled with the bad, along
with the good. And so our goals--and
answered: ”Every morning we put in a new lamb.” .
We cannot make peace with the lions of the world, or the
bears, if the price of that peace is sacrificing lamb after lamb;
if the cost is abandoning nations threatened by aggression
from other powers, or peoples deprived of freedoms and
human rights within their own lands.
We cannot think the world is so good that our strength no
longer matters. And yet we must hope that nations see that
terrible strength brings its own terrible danger. From
Samson, we learn that power which destroy an enemy may
mean our own death, as well. “Mutual destruction” is not a
And so we must strive, as individuals and as nations, to be
strong enough to keep our dreams, and brave enough to take
those first small steps, so that the long and difficult journey
might still remain a possibility.
It is appropriate—indeed, perhaps providential – that the US-
USSR meeting was scheduled for these Jewish “High Holy
Days.” For Jewish dreams are in the air, and the Jewish
challenge of Yom Kippur is on our minds
May the prayers and dreams of Yom Kippur touch us all, so
that we each might take some small step in our own lives: so
that we make some contribution in the year ahead to
goodness and righteousness in our communities.
And may our prayers and dream touch world leaders, as
well: so that, with no wishful thinking, their thinking might
nonetheless be filled with wishes – and with vision: wishes for
freedom; visions of peace.
May the world remember Iceland as the place, and Yom
Kippur as the time, when we took one small step toward the
biggest dream of all.