Vegas violence and reader’s wisdom for healing broken world

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, October 5, 2017

Dr. David Lertzman’s Yom Kippur reflections
emphasize our individual role in Tikkun Olam,
“the healing of a broken world.”
Graphic by Warren Harbeck with Adobe Clip Art

I had just turned on my computer and read the beautiful Yom Kippur (Jewish High Holy Day) reflections one of our Cochrane coffee companions had emailed me. Then I turned on the radio and heard the news that was anything but beautiful: the mass shooting in Las Vegas over the weekend. Was there significance in the timing?

Dr. David Lertzman, a faculty member of the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, is a familiar face to many around our foothills community as a singer-songwriter of ballads celebrating the beauty of our common humanity.

But what are we to do when that beauty is violated? When our world is shattered, how can we put the pieces together again? David’s Yom Kippur reflections offer a way rooted in the teachings of Jewish mysticism. Here is my condensation of his essay:

I FIND MYSELF REFLECTING on the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, the restoration or healing of the World,as a model for personal development in service to the Earth’s greater good. Yet, how can this be done with the diffusion of such cruelty, pain and suffering across our beloved Planet? Judaism teaches that sin is collective. We are all responsible for the World, including the problems we witness and experience whether or not we feel we have created them. We must start with ourselves and look within.

Turning within is ultimately about returning to who we are at our Core, our true Self, the Divine Spark of Sacred Mystery within each of us. During the 16th Century in Safed, Israel, Rabbi Isaac Luria popularized the idea of Tikkun Olam. He taught that nothing in this World is without a Spark of the Divine, which is the Core and Essence of every being. Our purpose is to liberate these Divine Sparks in all we do, revealing the beauty and true nature within elevating our Soul and all those we touch.

Two centuries later, the Baal Shem Tov taught that good can be found and celebrated wherever and within whomever one encountered. We are led, as it were, to seek these Divine Sparks who have been waiting for liberation, perhaps since the dawn of Creation. Thus, wherever we go and with whomever we meet, we bring and foster Tikkun in all we do through our thoughts, words and deeds.

When I hold back, when I diminish that Divine Spark within for whatever reason, the World becomes a dimmer, less bright place. The World needs you to shine, to be true to your inner nature, your authentic Self. In giving that gift to the World, you will be giving it to yourself. What greater sense of purpose and call to service could there be than as a Divine Partner in Creation?

—David Lertzman, Ph.D., Waiparous

AT THE TIME of the mass shooting, another of our coffee companions, Tsuu T’ina First Nation Chief Lee Crowchild, was in Las Vegas for meetings. I wrote him to make sure he was safe. He assured me that he was, adding in the spirit of David’s Yom Kippur reflections: “Actions like this should further our resolution to find answers to creating a peace that is inclusive of all people.”

Yes, David and Lee, may it be so!


© 2017 Warren Harbeck

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