Yasmin Kuti-Alexander - Dvar Torah
I once met someone who had never heard of Harry Potter, but I am assuming that you know the story of Moses and all of that…, so I don’t need to repeat it to you now - also we just read it earlier in case you got bored and dozed off.
There are so many different things one can say about such a famous Torah portion but the thing that really jumped out at me was how this reminded me of vampires. Now you might think that they are monsters but this is a misunderstanding. If you read Twilight you will meet vampires who fight their need to drink human blood by deciding not to kill people. This is their act of resistance, of trying to change their own nature and their world.
In my Torah portion the first acts of resistance are the midwives who refuse Pharaoh’s orders to kill the Jewish baby boys. Then Moses’ mom and sister hide him in a basket and send him down the River Nile, where he is saved by the next resistor - Pharaoh’s daughter who, even knowing that he is a Hebrew boy, goes against her father’s decisions and takes him in and adopts him.
Later you see Moses and Aaron who stand up to Pharaoh to set free the slaves. Not only are they resisting, they are trying to change the whole system. They are heroes - just like the Marvel and DC heroes that I love to watch.
What do you think makes a hero?
For me, what I think makes a hero is someone who fixes a problem that no-one else can fix. Yes, there were heroes in the Torah, and in movies, but in real life there are heroes that we don’t always even know.
Who are your heroes?
Of course there are heroes who we all know like Nelson Mandela or Greta Thunberg. For me there are also some heroes we don’t even think about - like the awesome volunteers at Woof Project trying to get unwanted pets adopted. Or dustbin collectors who clean up our city. Or even our animals who make our lives amazing without ever speaking a word.
That also got me thinking about where G-d is in all this? It’s all well for G-d to free the slaves from Egypt but what about all the problems in the world today? Why do we need heroes to step up when G-d could fix it?
And why did G-d leave them to be slaves for 400 years in Egypt in the first place?
Many of you know that I love the Percy Jackson books and the Greek gods. I think they make more sense - yes, they have power and do get involved in the world but they have also been around for ages and get distracted or bored and lazy. And that’s why things get bad.
It makes me wonder if G-d is just bored of fixing all the problems in the world.
There is this idea that if we are free to choose, then G-d can’t really step in and stop things because that would take away our free will. So the only way we can understand this world then is that we have to be partners with G-d to make this world better.
That’s like Woof Project and Climate Change activism and all that good stuff that we need to do.
And the cool thing is that we do this because we choose it. We can choose to spread hate like Andrew Tate or we can make things better. I want to challenge everyone here to think of ways that you can all be partners with G-d in this world. And now that I am bat mitzvah I am committing to do that too.