The last day of Passover captures one of the most unique and amazing qualities of the Jewish people: Their ability to be both dreamers and realists. To kiss the sky and hold their heads above the clouds, while their feet are firmly planted on the ground.
In today’s Haftorah we read the incredible prophecy of Isaiah: “[At that time] the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard lie down with the kid, the calf and the beast of prey shall feed together with a little child to herd them.”
Is this a nice, poetic metaphor or is this something that is actually going to happen someday? And if so, will it happen as a result of a miracle, or are we meant to play a role in this unfolding drama and bring it about?
Judaism teaches us the latter. But then the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question arises: How?
The Jewish answer is simple but profound: By bringing peace into our own lives.
Everything in the universe – in the great macrocosm – reflects what happens on the individual level, in the smallest microcosm. So what happens in our homes affects what happens in our community, in our country, in the world. And therefore, making sure that peace dwells within our walls – shalom bayit – is the most important pre-requisite for world peace and for making Isaiah’s prophecies come true.
This sermon sets forth some key, and practical, lessons for changing our homes, and thereby changing the world.
Yizkor captures this theme as well – the power of earthly humans to touch and connect with souls in heaven, while building for them living structures on earth. Yizkor allows us to continue effecting shalom bayiteven with departed souls.
All this teaches us – that heaven meets earth right at your doorstep.