Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in the NJ Jewish News (Oct 7, 2016) under the title “All We Need is Love – Message for the Days of Awe”.
It is almost 50 years since the Beatles gave the world the song, “All you need is love.” They say that the music is somewhat complex and creative, while the message is pretty simple. That simple song became the anthem for what seems like a much simpler time. Our time does not seem simple at all. It is harder to dream, harder to believe in the power of love.
It seems pretty obvious that we can’t return to that time. We cannot rewind the clock and we cannot rewind our lives. What is done is done. What is gone is gone. It is as if we are stuck on a New Jersey highway that never lets us turn around. There is no return.
What, then, is the message of these Ten Days of Returning ( – Teshuvah)?
It is that the gift of consciousness and freedom – the gift of being created in God’s Image – endows us with a remarkable ability to recapture and repair, relearn and renew ourselves and the world – to return. But, in returning we do not go backwards. We return to reclaim something we have left behind. We return in order to take the past with us into the future.
Our response (- teshuvah) to these harsh, ugly and frightening times cannot be to become harsh, ugly and frightening. We need to return to our commitment to loving. The Beatles told us, “It’s easy.” But it’s not. It’s very hard, but we have no other choice.
This year may we sing new songs of love and compassion.
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