19 Aug Sometimes Breaking the Law is the right thing
I am so pleased that the School Board last night chose to follow the CDC and medical professionals by bringing a mask mandate to the schools. School Board members mentioned how many calls they had received; speaking up really does work.
I was especially pleased that the conversation was not primarily about their concerns about breaking the law (the mandate against mask mandate), but rather about keeping children safe.
Judaism has always taught that we are responsible for our own actions. We can never defend our actions by claiming that we were told to do it. The first example of this is Shifrah and Puah, the Egyuptian midwives who simply did not comply with Pharoah’s decree to kill the babies. As Jews, we have a religious obligation never to comply with unethical laws.
The Talmud has a principle ein shaliach ledavar aveirah–literally, “there’s no such thing as an agent for a sin.” Normally, I can send you to do something for me, like buy milk at the store–you bought it but it’s mine. You were my agent, and your actions are counted as mine. But if I ask you to do a sin, you cannot say you are my “agent” and are just representing me; the sin is on you, no matter who directed you to do it. This is our response to the Milgram experiment, in which people “electrocuted” other people based on the directive of a “doctor.” If it looks wrong, we don’t do it. We are always responsible for our own actions.
Please join us as we prepare for the High Holidays by examining our life in an open hearted way, with music, readings, and contemplation. Selichot is August 31st at 8:30.
Rabbi David Siff
Thank you to Sam Kessler for his generous contribution to Kol HaLev.
Please consider contributing to Kol HaLev this new year; your contribution helps us offer meaningful worship, community, and education in Palm Beach County and nationally.
Other Upcoming events:
- High Holidays with Congregation Gan Eden: please join me on zoom with Congregation Gan Eden; tickets for the virtual service are available at congregationganeden.org.
- Sharing Joy and Thanksgiving: Sukkot dinner and song fest with Julius Sanna, Sept 24 6:00 (tickets required
- Sukkot Family Festival Sept 26th
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- Torah and Today: “Shaming” Study with Rabbi Andrew Shapiro Katz examining the line between encouragement and shaming, and whether shaming is ever appropriate (grades 6-12), August 30th, 5:00; register here
- Mitzvah Class: “When is repentance complete?” taught by Sarah Rosenson (grades 2-6) September 13th, 5:00. register here.
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