Bad News: Omer 45

Bad News: Omer 45
Black and white photo of a man sitting on the ground near a forest with his head poking out of a news paper around his neck like a collar.

Tiferet means balance. Malchut, the Kingdom, is also known as Shechinah, the Presence. Tiferet she’b’Malchut could refer to the presence of mind one needs to find balance in political matters.

But what if all that is present to my mind is, “I don’t know what to say about the news?” Do I have to take a social media stand?

Sometimes I get my news from twitter.

But let me clarify that. I don’t mean that I accept reports from random twitterati.

I do mean that I peek at which news stories my friends are sharing. And I also peek at the comments my friends write. That updates me on a different kind of news: what my friends think.

This week, many twitter friends are writing about the violence in Jerusalem. They’re not really sharing many news stories. But they are sharing their comments. And many of those comments are slogans, really.

And I sort of get that, I do.

Most are not in Jerusalem.

Some work for advocacy organizations. And thus they have to present their organization’s position. They say, for example, “Hamas must end the terror.”

Others are media personalities who spin every news story around the theme they’re selling—whether it actually connects or not. So they say, for example, “This is Trump’s fault.”

A few have very little information about history or politics. But they identify strongly with a group. And thus they feel threatened. So they defend their group and blame another.

And many are heartbroken for friends or family in the region. So, they don’t know what to say, except, “End the Violence.”

Of course I have my own views. I blame the regional tyrants and aspiring tyrants. They come in all nationalities. But they all excel at creating crisis and then pretending to fix it. If others lose life, health, livelihood or home, they don’t care. As long as they gain a bit more power and—let’s be honest—money.

But that’s often my go-to perspective. On almost any news story. Because I see it happening almost everywhere.

And one thing I wish for right now is to see differently. To have the presence of mind not to default to my usual take. But to balance it with other perspectives.

To put it another way: I want some Tiferet in my Malchut.

And I also want the violence and exploitation to end. So I pray for peace.

Today is the 45th day of the Omer, i.e., six weeks and three days.

New to counting the Omer? Here’s a primer.

If you want a take that refuses simple polarization… and if you want to hear from Israelis and Palestinians supporting one another in the West Bank, then stop by our online VST conference on “Religion and Thoughtful Activism,” May 25-27, 2021. One of the keynote events (free and open to the public) features Roots Palestinian Israeli Network. Visit this LINK and “Register for Keynote Events.”

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