Joshua Cypess Profile picture
Sep 21, 2020 32 tweets 10 min read Read on X
1/ Some thoughts about the devastating loss of #JusticeGinsburg.

I have no idea how this will "play politically," which is good, b/c it allows me to concentrate on #RBG as a person & her legacy.
2/ #RuthBaderGinsburg is like Brandeis & Thurgood Marshall - one of the best legal minds to be put on the bench. It's how it's supposed to be done.

Her life's work made America a more equal and thus a better place.
3/ What she stood for is the exact opposite of what our country is suffering from under the fascist GOP, so her loss right before #RoshHashanah was an overwhelming message from Heaven.

The death of a justice, the death of Justice, before the day of judgement?! Come. On.
4/ To offset my stupefying list of limitations, HKBH gave me a surprisingly astute sense of perception. I'm habituated into seeing things most people overlook & I've made my life's work to teach others what I see.

So I'm really not used to signs being this overt.
5/ Erev-RH, giving her a full year, HKBH took the life of the one person who became the symbol of the America we're trying to preserve & who the RedHats are trying to exterminate.

I repeat: the death of Justice, the death of the Justice of Fairness and Equality
6/ Back when I gave RH sermons, I would use the first day to talk of the 3 themes: Malkhuyot (kingship), Zikhronot (remembrance) & Shofrot (shofar, the ram's horn)

One way I would show how God is King of Kings was to mention the world leaders who had died during the year
7/ These deaths would teach that, no matter how much power humans place in other humans, God is still over all. So the fact that my message would be just blurted out by Divine Decree right before 5781 is stunning, to me.

As I said, I'm not used to the signs being so big.
8/ Mind you, it's really not a good thing for the signs to be this overt.

The irrationality of the past century has left us with the most powerful body in the world not the president of the US but the supreme court (it's in the name?)
9/ The death of such a pivotal figure made a harrowing #RoshHashanah, but I fear it was the opposite for the wicked among my people & my country

We're taught that at the moment of nightfall of RH everyone is flash judged, written immediately in the books of Life, Death or Maybe
10/ Life is for the righteous, Death for the wicked, Maybe for those who may be able to fix themselves before the next deadline (I'll talk about the full theology of this a later point)

So at that moment of judging, some people felt the full tragedy & earned real merit
11/ Others jumped for joy at the imminent fascist takeover, death of a righteous judge, & dreams of crushing their enemies & hearing the lamentations of women (to paraphrase Conan)

These RedHats entered into judgement... poorly (to paraphrase the Grail Knight)
12/ However, I was ignorant of this all until the next morning, reading the paper. Standing in my driveway, feeling nearly as crushed as I did when I saw PA turn red on Nov 8 2016

Wondering if I should hide the info from my family so they could enjoy a chag... no, bad idea
13/ We have a house of truth and I had to explain to them all that we would celebrate #RBG's legacy and life and mourn her passing as moral beings.

But there's a snag, you see, we can't mourn. It was a holiday, it was Shabbat.
14/ #RoshHashanah is a paradox b/c it's a pure happy holiday but we're also sitting in dread over the Day of Judgement.

For a week before RH, we say 'slichot' - pleadings for mercy & an attempt to repent before the deadline: RH. But none of that on RH itself.
15/ TB RH 32a: "The angels said before God why don’t the Jewish people recite hallel before You on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur? He replied: Is it possible that while the King is sitting on the throne of judgment people are reciting joyous songs of praise?"…
16/ We need to act happy on every holiday, but it's especially necessary to maintain the stiff-upper-lip-smile on RH.

And Shabbat even more so! We can't make requests on Shabbat. No Avinu Malkeinu, no recognizing that the country has just been sent into deep, frightened sorrow
17/ I was able to maintain my facade of joy until Sunday, when during my private Musaf, in Zichronot, I couldn't handle the sorrow & fear.

The words are clear: "God, remember us favorably before You and be mindful of us for deliverance and compassion"…
18/ I realized that I could put the 3 themes into the pattern of all prayers, Praise then Request then Thanksgiving.

Malkhuyot easily fits praise.

Zikhronot is a recognition that God controls the world, cares for our actions, sees our pain, knows our limits, knows we're trying
19/ When I came to Shofrot, I saw it as a relief and promise. The shofar is a sign of God's recognition of the sacrifices of all Jewish parents make for their children as symbolized in the Akeidah, the sign that we have an eternal covenant of Sinai w/the giving of the Torah
20/ The #shofar is the sign of future redemption.

The covenant with Abraham led a cycle of my people being examples for the world - like #RBG, the Justice called Bubbie by her grandchildren - but there often followed depths of oppression.
21/ That the RedHat fascism is led by a frum Jew is not lost on me in 5781. It's a grave shame. It's why I was weeping in Musaf. But the shofar tells me I need to focus my rage, my weeping, the depths of horror and *shame* & remember that God keeps the covenant. Always.
22/ The shofar reminds us that God keeps the covenant.

So when there's 100,000s of God tragedies - plague, storms, fires: every single line of Unetaneh Tokef! - I need to remember that the Acts of God must be met with acts of humanity, & we're judged by how we respond.
23/ God sent the plague, but selfish fascists made sure it hurt the most vulnerable.

So too the fires in the West, hurricanes in the South, derechos in the Middle, the plague hitting first in the North.

How we respond is how we're judged.
24/ This is how I turn my rage at God - I have this feeling more often now than I'd like - into prayer, esp. during #Tishrei

Shofarot became a statement of faith & thanksgiving; I believe in God's judgement, I need to. But being Jewish means acting in this world to do God's will
25/ The death of Justice Bubbie on RH. The knowledge that evil people are laughing at the concept of justice, freedom, equality & having the best day of the year & not being able to show my pain b/c of Jewish law... that's everything I can say about 5780
26/ One last point about today, #TzomGedalyah. Gedaliah was appointed governor of the conquered Jewish people in Israel by Nebuchadnezzar (see II Kings 25) & he was assassinated on Rosh Hashanah by Jewish partisans in a civil war.
27/ It's a known joke as to why we have this fast day, one full week before #YomKippur. It's jarring & feels excessive. But it's even clearer today why his death is an eternal tragedy.

First, he was killed in a civil war, by partisans who felt they were actually chosen by God
28/ With Gedalyah, the Land of Israel had a population of Jews loyal to God who weren't taken into exile. A petty, personal gambit by a selfish rat (Ishmael ben Natanya) destroyed the last hope to keep the covenant alive in our ancestral land.
29/ Gedalya's murder meant that there was no continuity to our tradition in Israel, so when Ezra & Nechemia returned with the exiles 70 years later, the nation was filled with ignorance & rebuilding the temple was fraught with division & danger
30/ So this #TzomGedalyah is poignant with the death of #RBG, Justice Bubbie, who's death is met with glee by those with petty, partisan, mean spirited, short-sighted desires.

Think how cheap the GOP has been in selling out our country. How little they'll get for all the death.
31/ Lastly, I had no idea how much anger I had left at these evil people. But they just add more to their depravity, and I get more and more determined and angry.

I was white-hot after Kavanaugh. Bet then COVID. Now this.
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194.02/ #ChochmatNashim for #Shemini 5784.
Downloadable PDF with working links to Divrei Torah by Orthodox women scholars on the parsha and other topics of the week. #Shmini #HaChodesh…
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And, hey, it's working already!
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Also, I see people wrestling to make sense of his convoluted phrasing, but I'm not inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to a declaration that inherently refuses to give others the same benefit.
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