Haha, I thought I would get your attention with that subject line! 🙂

Our tradition gives us a fascinating insight into human reality by way of this often-maligned, tasty (so I’m told!) animal. This week, we get a detailed list of the animals considered kosher and those that are not. As you may know, to pass the kosher test, an animal must have cloven hooves as well as chew its cud. And so…what about the pig? The Torah mentions the pig, which has cloven hooves but does not chew its cud. The pig, though, has remained in Jewish lore throughout the centuries. One fascinating midrash (extra-biblical interpretive story from the ~4th Century CE) tells the story of a clever pig holding out its hoof to try to show the world its kosher bonafides. In essence, it shows the world one thing but is really another.

Oh, how this story repeats! These days, it seems difficult to find an organization that shows the world precisely what it intends to be. AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is one such organization. It hosted its annual Policy Conference in Washington DC this week as 18,000 supporters of the American-Israeli relationship descended on our nation’s capital. Often branded a right-wing organization, it is nothing of the sort. The 18,000 consisted of left wing, right wing, and everyone in between as did the various policy-makers from both the American and Israeli right and left.

An egregious petition from MoveOn.org attempted to change this by petitioning Democratic Legislators to boycott the Conference. Thankfully, this largely failed as the vast majority of our Senators and Representatives know how vital the American-Israeli alliance and how it benefits both countries. Israel must forever remain a bipartisan issue.

Of course, there are notable exceptions in this Congress. Like the pig from the above midrash, there are those in Washington who parade as progressives and yet espouse anti-Semitism. They will not succeed in their plans. We all need to ensure this through our support for AIPAC and other progressive institutions that coincide with our American and Jewish values.

We pray with our words and take action with our deeds. Specifically, we pray for Israel this Shabbat as she has endured a difficult week of terrorist rockets at civilian centers. May this all-too-familiar cycle end. May terrorism have no place in this world. May the world rouse from its spiritual slumber to see those with evil and deceit in their hearts.

May it be a Shabbat of peace and blessings for us all.

Shabbat Shalom,