The 11th Commandment

            Wearing the new dress that my husband bought me for my birthday, I walked to synagogue, excited to hear my son read the Torah, on the first day of Shavuot. How fitting that on the holiday which celebrates the giving of the Torah, my son was about to read the Ten Commandments for the first time, as a trial run for his bar mitzvah this coming February. What better birthday present could there be than to hear him chant those words?!
            On the way to synagogue, we ran into my step-mother. “Did you hear about the news this morning?” she said. “No, I replied,” and then she told me what happened in Orlando.
            A short while later, my son read the Ten Commandments, standing between his two grandfathers. As he chanted, those two simple words, “Lo Tirsach” – “Do not Murder,” rang in my ears. More than three thousand years since those words were first spoken, and they have yet to be heard. How different our world would be if everyone followed that simple commandment!
            When the holiday concluded and I tuned back into technology, the week was filled with images and stories – from the doctors in Orlando recounting how their teams had responded to the flood of injured patients to the parents and friends who lost loved ones.
Last week was awash with these heartbreaking stories until Friday night, at Open Temple when the pictures of the 49 killed in Orlando were shown on the screen before the recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish. As the Kaddish was recited, I thought of three other simple words. The words were from a handwritten sign which was placed at the Dolphinarium, a disco in Tel Aviv, after a terrorist bombing that killed 21 and wounded 120 people, fifteen years ago, this month. The sign read:
Lo nafsik lirkod. Lo nafsik lashir.
Lo nafsik lichlom. Lo nafsik likavot.
We won’t stop dancing. We won’t stop singing.
We won’t stop dreaming. We won’t stop hoping.
            The terrorists kill many; they wound many; they blast giant holes through the hearts of bereaved family members. They make people even thousands of miles away from the shooting feel unsafe and bereft.
            However, the murderers cannot achieve their ultimate goal – the destruction of our free society. That’s because we will not stop – we won’t stop treating people with dignity and respect. We won’t stop struggling for greater liberty, acceptance, and love. We won’t stop following the ancient 10 Commandments – and the contemporary 11th:
            Lo Nafsik Lirkod: We won’t stop dancing.

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