Red Seeds of Anger


We played bridge the other night and one of the times when I was dummy, I found myself at the kitchen sink opening a pomegranate and wondering if that is the right verb. You cut an apple; you peel a banana; you slice a peach or a pear. At any rate; I was knee deep in pomegranate juice hoping I wouldn’t stain my shirt as I was pulling and pushing out the succulent seeds hidden and tucked into the off white membrane. There were so many seeds; Jewish tradition counts six hundred and thirteen, each one corresponding to a Mitzvah, each one urging us to bring harmony and goodness into this world.

The juice was ruby red like the map of the United States on election night. By the way, you deseed a pomegranate; I just googled the instructions. It says to do it in a non-reactive bowl under water, minimizing the chance for permanent damage. That of course is my fear: that the seeds of anger and hatred that have been sown by the bitterness of the political campaign ending with a November surprise will stain our country. That the sweetness of the juice that surrounds these seeds will never realize their potential to do good and cleanse us with their anti-oxidant powers.

Am I being irrational; am I being an alarmist?  I feel I am allowing my disappointment to cloud my thinking but then again it is not all up to me. It is up to our President-Elect. Donald Trump will be our 45th. We have been in this business of electing presidents for over two hundred years. Some have been builders; some have been healers; some have inspired us; some have changed our very direction; some have been place holders; some have taught us to dream; some have shepherded us through times of terror and danger; some have disappointed; some have surprised. Time will tell.

You may call me naïve but until proven otherwise, I am choosing to have faith that the office will make the man. I apologize if that sounds a little condescending. He certainly understood the mood of so many in our country who were “done” with Washington. He certainly tapped into their disappointment, their anger and fear. He saw the unhappiness and unrest that the rest of us dismissed and ignored. So he is smart and savvy. He has proven that he has the ability to galvanize people in ways we never imagined. He has demonstrated that he understands America better than we do. Shame on us!

I am also choosing to hope that he will find a way to unite us. There is no place for triumphalism here. (OK – you can have your five minutes.) But what the election showed us is a fractured country. What the election showed us is a deep-seated anger. We need to heal. We need to come together. We need to mend. We need a government that governs and is of the people, for the people and by the people. That is our task and that is my prayer.




11 thoughts on “Red Seeds of Anger

  1. Amen, Rabbi. It’s not the end of the world as we know it. A detour from sanity perhaps, but not the end… and you never know what’s going to come out of a bad situation. I think we’re in for an interesting time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The prefect analogy. We remember, years ago, when you likened the Eternal Light @ Temple Israel to the pomegranate;
    the 613 seeds/the commandments. Let’s hope for a ‘sweeter ‘ ,more positive new administration than expected.


  3. This is written with the kind of generous heart that I hope to have by the end of the week. Your hope that the office will make the man articulates where my mind and heart have been moving, although I have not yet put it into words. I have a theory that bad men often make good presidents, and there are paradoxes in American history (Nixon opening China, for example), where the person we thought least likely to do something was, in fact, the only one who could have done it. Thanks for writing this. I realize that congregational leaders either learn to reach down deep into themselves to find the words to help people put the unexpected and the unwelcome into perspective so that they can keep on with life — or they fall back on platitudes. You are clearly in the first category. As someone who has attempted to do this at times for others, I am grateful to be on the listening side for once.


  4. I wish I had your optimism. I am afraid that within 6 months this country will have buyer’s remorse, only we’ll be stuck for 4 years, and by then great damage will have been done to our country, and the world. I feel alienated right now. Perhaps this is how the south felt after losing the Civil War. This no longer feels like my country, and Trump is not my idea of anything remotley resembling “Presidential.”


  5. Thank you for your upbeat, hopeful words. We can really use them now, more than ever. Life is full of changes, both positive and negative, let’s hope that this will be positive soon.
    Love to you and Eileem


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