In memory of Rabbi Edwin H. Friedman
Rabbi Friedman of blessed memory is my main rabbinic mentor. In his final book, A Failure of Nerve, the good rabbi challenges each of us to have our own “I have a dream speech.” With Kings Speech in front of me I now take up the challenge. Following the example of Jewish liturgy, this “I have a dream” speech is also a “We have a dream” prayer, an individual dream voiced by the community.
I have a dream
of every body sanctified, of
every heart and mind a Temple,
and every person a rabbi, priest ,and minister
The dream of Shabbat Shalom a revelation of Peace,
in our hearts, homes, and on Earth, and in heaven!
O Lord our God who we proclaim to be One
we still stand at the base of your Mountain
afraid to ascend, so we send our Moses’
or our Jesus, or our King, our Edwin’s,
but they now proclaim:
Time for you to ascend, lace up your hiking boots.
The dream is on the peak, from the Arête, A
vision of excellence and virtue, from the leader within,
holding The Tablets, lit by Menorah, anointed, a prophet
unafraid of the thunder and lightening, ready, also, for the descent,
for what goes up
The A Mountain
must come down
The A Mountain,
When, and where, we declare:
We will be One Nation
On God’s good earth
making all land holy
on earth when it is heaven.
We have a dream
that every citizen shall be a sage,
universal education from kindergarten
till old age
We have a dream of the political
functioning as a healthy body
a tranquil organization.
We have a dream of religion
unfettered, living the hallowed Name
fed by our daily bread.
We have a dream of freedom ringing
in the Temples of our mind
as we order our thoughts and emotions
to true teachings,
and the greatest commandment,
hearts circumcised, homes sanctified
by intelligent conversation
a prayer for Peace
on everyone’s lips,
a dream of loving our neighbors
and domestic tranquility.
We have a dream that Peace in the Home
will bring Peace on Earth,
and bring Freedom
to the streets and markets
of every city and nation.
We hear in our dream a freedom that rings
not from chaos, but from order
a world renewed in united vision.
We shall be One
as our God is One.
Rabbi Laurence Aryeh Alpern