Sabbatical Log #3: All You Need is Love

Rabbi Alexander Davis

Rabbi Alexander Davis
April 3, 2012 / 11 Nisan 5772

Sabbatical Log #3: All You Need is Love

We have a wonderful apartment here in Jerusalem. Aside from the on-going hassles of appliances breaking (this week it was the refrigerator), we are really pleased with it, especially the location. For those who know Jerusalem, we are in Talbyia, very close to the Jerusalem Theater and the President’s house.

Our apartment is right across the street from a monastery. I can see monks and nuns from our balcony walking in their garden each morning. When it is quiet at night, I can hear the muazzin calling out times for prayer from a mosque in the old city. And, of course, I have lots of synagogues from which to choose (four synagogues within three blocks of my building to be exact).

Besides places of worship, we are a block from Liberty Bell Park (Gan Hapaamon). Liberty Bell Park contains an exact replica of the Liberty Bell that was dedicated in honor of American’s 200th anniversary. But to me, the neighborhood bell that is even more prominent is the bell I hear from my apartment. Next to Liberty Bell Park is a school and rather than a typical bell sound to announce the end of periods, they play the Beatles’ song, “All you need is love.” It took me a while to figure out who was blasting the Beatles every hour on the hour. And admittedly, “Helter Skelter” might be a more apt description of this city. But when I walk through the park, the song does seem appropriate. On Shabbat, the garden is full of Jewish and Arab children playing side by side. Perhaps one day, with a bit more love, they will play together.

The Prophet Zecharia, as is written on a plaque in another near-by park, envisioned such a time: “Thus said the Lord thy God, ‘old men and women will sit in the open spaces in Jerusalem; and the open spaces shall be full of boys and girls at play’” (Zecharia 8). If the synagogues, churches and mosques within ear shot listened intently to the Beatles and the children, this vision might just be realized quickly, in our day.

The commentary in my newest hagaddah (“The Carlebach Hagaddah”) says it all: Eve said to herself, “What is the greatest thing I can do for my children? I’ll eat from the Tree of Knowledge and tell them what’s right and what’s wrong.” God said to her, “Look at yourself, you’re hiding in a garden, you’re running away from Me. Don’t you know what a mother is for?” When the children are crying, they run to their mother or father.” So too, concludes Carlebach, it is with us: “instead of running away from each other, together we’ll run to the One, the Only One, who brought us out from sorrow to joy.”

May you all have a zissen Pesah!

Rabbi Davis