A Meditation Before the Seder
Silence does not just bring to a standstill words and noise. Silence is more than the temporary renunciation of speech. It is a door opening before prayer, toward the very realms of the spirit and the heart. Silence is the beginning of a reckoning of the soul, the prelude to an account of the past and the consideration of the present, may our shared silence lead us to awareness of a time of total evil that degraded out most precious values, the very meaning of religious existence, and life itself. Our silence is to be a committed accounting for other silences, that accepted persecutions and were indifferent to debasement and crime. For there was a time when silence was a crime. We think particularly of one night of silence, over half a century ago: Kristallnacht, the night of the broken glass, the 9th of November, 1938. Then, all the synagogues in Germany rose up in flame and smoke to the skies. The churches next to them stood in darkness, and in silence. Glass littered the streets-the broken shop-windows of the Jewish community. The neighbors walked upon the crunching splinters and were silent. A few prayed. Some churches courageously expressed their grief. But a dark cloud of silence filled the world. When will that silence end? When will we speak out on behalf of suffering neighbors? Not until we affirm God together, not until we acknowledge that we are all God’s children. From the silence of uncaring, let us move on to the silence, which is the search for God, the search for ourselves. Then we can move beyond that silence and affirm the One God, we can proclaim God’s name to the world.