The Game Isn’t Rigged – A High Holidays Sermon

So what does this mean, this Judaism beyond God that is the hallmark of Humanistic Judaism? It means we combine our Jewish resources and our human resources in approaching the world. We recognize that we have authority, and we stand today with nearly three-thousand years of resources that we can draw upon to find models on how to face the world. We may be afraid, but we can have courage because we tread paths our ancestors have walked. We have the benefit of hindsight, so that rather than apologizing for the past, we can freely acknowledge where we have come from and how to do better.

We do the hard work needed to live lives of integrity, to insist on honesty when it’s convenient to do otherwise—even if the only thing we change is ourselves, because we are not rigged.

The game is not rigged. Our past tells us this, and our future demands that we remember it.

But we need to remember that it is not rigged for either the good or the bad. There are no shadowy forces pulling the strings. There are only people.

Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of the long arc of history that bends toward Justice. Toward or away from justice, the arc bends only when people act—or when they fail to do so. Jewish history provides us with innumerable reminders that the long arc bends only when people bend it.

The Psalms tell us that the world will rejoice in God’s justice—the heavens will rejoice, the earth will be glad, and the sea and all it contains will roar with delight.

We are Humanistic Jews. Our light is within each of us, and within one another. We know it is human action and human reason that change the world. We know we are diminished when we throw up our hands and stare longingly, waiting for the heavens to answer. The sea and all it contains may roar, but they do so because it is in their nature—not because they wait for justice.

If there will be justice, it will exist because we make it so.

So, this High Holiday season, how do we answer the Chabad rabbi’s question, “Who are you voting for October 3?”

Who are we voting for? We are voting for us. Being here is how we vote. It is we who ensure that the system is not rigged.

Judaism beyond God demands nothing less.

L’shanah Tovah u’M’tukah—may we all have a good and sweet New Year.

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