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Rising Above our Differences

I had never seen a double rainbow before Thursdays afternoon rainstorm. I thought to myself what could the lesson be, why a double rainbow and at this moment in time?

As I was driving home Thursday afternoon, I was thinking about what I would write in this column. Suddenly I looked up to the sky and was surprised by the site of a double rainbow.

As followers of the teachings of the Baal Shemtov, my family and I embrace the fundamental concept that there are no "coincidences" in life. Everything we see and hear has a lesson for us if we choose to receive it.

I had never seen a double rainbow before. I thought to myself what could the lesson be, why a double rainbow at this moment in time? On the radio I was listening to the vice Presidential candidates in the midst of their debate, and suddenly it struck me.

Our great country was founded based on the concept of a rainbow. A multi-colored spectrum banded together by one unifying light. As a Jewish person I have extraordinary appreciation for the creation of this country, a country whose foundation is built on human liberty and tolerance.

The United States of America is a place where people of all faiths, colors and creed can find security among their fellow freedom loving countrymen. We are "One nation under G-d," banded together regardless of our differences. Our country is really an example of the rainbow.

As the economy cries out for bright ideas and old fashioned wisdom to provide more jobs, as our world faces the real threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of those who openly state their evil intentions to wreak havoc in the lives of innocent people, as our communities become more divided in their ideologies or political preferences, we are called upon, to accept that we are one people with many differences, just like a rainbow with many colors.

The rainbow reminds us that these differences can also be our strength, because when we allow the One light that unites to shine through our differences, we get to experience the beauty like the beauty of a rainbow.

As the elections draw near many differences of opinion are being presented. One thing is for sure, when we open ourselves to others' opinions and ideas, different from our own, we open up to a brighter future. Notwithstanding who takes the reins of our country, if we truly desire to move forward and commit ourselves to the change that our times require, we would be wise to reach beyond our differences so we can be, as our country has always been like the shining light of the rainbow.

Shabbat Shalom!

Max October 12, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Dear Rabbi Cunin, I always enjoy and appreciate your wisdom and insight. Your words inspired me to consider, perhaps, an additional analogy that can be gleaned from the double rainbow. The primary rainbow is typically the only one that we see, a very bright spectacle. On the other hand, the secondary rainbow is rarely seen, and when it is in view, it's barely visible... and, the spectrum is reversed in sequence. The analogy may be spiritually interpreted as to how we view our perspective when discussing or debating a given point with another person: We typically consider our point of view as the "right way" to understand a given topic and, we are blinded by our thoughts (the primary rainbow). And, the opposing viewpoint (the inverted spectrum of the dimmer, secondary rainbow) is rarely heard and appreciated, and, when it is, it is hardly considered. The moral of the story is that, perhaps, we should flip our way of looking at things... that is, consider our perspective as the secondary rainbow and, instead, focus our attention on the viewpoint of the other person. Allow the other person to be the primary rainbow for a moment. Allow the other individual's side of the story to be heard, while we mute our biases. There is probably truth and wisdom in the opposing view that we would otherwise overlook and block out by blinding ourselves to our way of looking at things. Shabbat Shalom.
Rabbi Levi Cunin October 13, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Dear David and Denise, What a wonderful and meaningful observation! Thank you for sharing. Shabbat Shalom!

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