Israeli Values Religious Voices

Letter 18 - Rabbi Dr. Sigalit Ur

To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,

For 75 years we have lived here together. Us and those who were here before us, in this little piece of land that does not make our lives easy. Whether we want it or not, we are responsible for one another, we influence and are being influenced by each other, and we are deeply interdependent. 

The parable of the boat is an image and an illustration of this shared responsibility:

"A parable of people who were sitting inside a boat. One person took a drill and started drilling under himself. His friends asked him: What are you doing? He answered: Why do you care, am I not drilling under myself? They replied: "The water goes up and floats our boat!” (Vaikra Rabah 4, 6)

On Israel’s 75th birthday, it seems that voices blaming one another for drilling the boat increase and grow bigger. The sea cries rock the boat, the water threatens to burst, the occupants of the boat are petrified, looking at the drillers and do not understand how they cannot see the danger.

All the attention is directed towards the sounds of the drilling, and nobody pays attention to the quiet work of all the other staff members of the ship: the sailors, the cooks, the medical personnel, the cleaners, the machinery officers and the captain. People who act calmly and professionally in order to navigate the boat safely, come to the rescue when needed, create closeness and friendly relationships and learn how to trust one another. This is a different side of shared responsibility. 

Are we capable of turning our attention and look towards the silent majority of the people on the boat? Can we remember that even the one who drills the boat is not interested in sinking it, while only yesterday we were paddling together? Can we find communication channels based on shared responsibility which is not only a necessity but a value?


Rabbi Dr. Sigalit Ur

Rabbi Dr. Sigalit Ur is the co-leader of the Israeli Rabbinate network for Shalom Hartman Institute together with Hamidrasha in Oranim, teacher and facilitator all over the Galilee region.

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