We are standing before God and God is standing before us -- especially during this particular time, when certain fundamental liberties are being denied individuals and when justice is being withheld from specific groups -- all in the name of "homeland security."
Korah forces us to examine the motives of those who are either appointed or elected officials. Furthermore, we're encouraged to probe the reasons why some people attempt to become self-appointed leaders.
This week's Torah portion, Shemot, finds us studying the Book of Exodus for the first time this year. Probing the text, I began to think about the Hebrew word tevah (ark) that is found only twice in the Torah -- in parshat Noah and in this one.
In a Sept. 11 New York Times Op-Ed piece by Thomas L. Friedman on the feelings of angst that linger a year after Sept. 11, 2001, the distinguished columnist reports that he turned to Rabbi Tzvi Marx, a teacher in the Netherlands. Here's what Marx told Friedman: "To some extent, we feel after Sept. 11 like we have experienced the flood of Noah -- as if a flood has inundated our civilization and we are the survivors. What do we do the morning after?"
Several months before he publicly announced his candidacy, Jim Hahn and I met for lunch. As is typical of our conversations that have spanned the years I have lived and served here, we concentrated on what needs to be done to improve the lives of all our diverse peoples.