As Jews throughout the US approach Shabbat, my thoughts are with those murdered and wounded today in Paris, who perhaps rushed out to pick up a coke or candy for Shabbat and who were taken hostage in what seems to be a concerted wave of terrorism. It could have been any of us, at any day. Shooting up a kosher supermarket hours before Shabbat is yet another conscious attack on our freedom. #JeSuisJuif, as the new tag line goes. For how long, I wonder.
Today, as the leaders of the Jewish community in Paris have urged Jews to stay at home and not to congregate in synagogues, I feel fortunate to spend Shabbat in the comfort of family and friends, and, more than ever, community. “In times of war, gather” (בשעת מלחמה כנס את הרגל) our sages say (in Sifrei Devarim I think).
And yes, this is war, a hardening of invisible boundaries between communities and individuals, on an increasingly brutal and brutalizing trajectory. I pray that on this Shabbat, we may experience menuchah (rest, repose) and gather strength for the long struggle and the new fault lines that are taking shape in our days.
But really, I have no idea how to absorb these developments.