These past weeks have been difficult. On the shores of Nantasket Beach, we saw the formation of a swastika made of rocks. We saw Nazis march in Charlottesville calling out, “Jews will not replace us!” and “Blood and Soil!” These same hate filled white-supremacists will be marching tomorrow in our very own Boston Common. While many in our community are still processing the fear and anxiety that these actions are bringing out in us, and there is no clear unified response, there is one thing that remains clear: We, as Jews, are all in this together.
This week we read Parshat Re’eh. The parsha opens with God proclaiming, “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse/רְאֵה, אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם הַיּוֹם, בְּרָכָה וּקְלָלָה.” The Kli Yakar asks about the meaning of “before you.” He teaches that “before you” means “all of you.” This is highlighted in our parsha when it speaks about the people receiving the promise of blessing and the warning of curses while gathered on two mountains that face each other, Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Eival. It was there, on those mountains, that the Jews were made responsible for each other, and from the perspective of responsibility, the masses are caught up in the wrong doing of the individual. As the Kli Yakar puts it, when one of us does something, it reflects on all of us. We, of course, have the choice before us. We can choose to be upright, and thus add blessing and holiness to our world, our people and our God/kiddush Hashem. Or, our actions can degrade our name and the presence of God in this world/hillul Hashem. When a Jew does something across the world, that has an effect on me and our people. And when something happens to a Jew hundreds of miles away, that has an effect on me as well.
There are those from our people that went to Virginia last week. While I did not go, a part of me could not get it out of my mind all Shabbat. My people were in trouble. How can I help? I am responsible for them! This week, there are many that will go protest and stand up to hate in our world. And there are many who will gather together for Shabbat services, pray together and learn Torah. Those of us in shul will have all the upstanders in our minds and hearts. We will pray for your words of peace to be heard and for you to return home safely. This week, we are all called to remember our eternal bond: All Israel is responsible for each other.
 Deut. 11:26
 Shlomo Ephraim ben Aaron Luntschitz (1550 – 21 April, 1619) was a rabbi and Torah commentator, best known for his Torah commentary Kli Yakar. He served as the Rabbi of Prague from 1604 - 1619.
 BT Sotah 37b “All Israel is responsible for each other”
 Kli Yakar, Deut. 11:26
Rabbi Ezra Balser has been the rabbi at Temple Beth Sholom since July 1, 2016. He received his “smicha” (ordination) in June 2017 from Hebrew College while also earning a Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies. He has also received the iCenter's Certification in Israel Education.