Yesterday, I made the long drive out to eastern Long Island to officiate at a funeral. As I drove, I spotted the staging areas for the funeral this weekend of Officer Liu, one of two murdered NYPD patrolmen, killed almost two weeks ago for no other reason than the color of their uniform.
I reflected on the fact that 2014 ended with considerable tales of death. The two officers, the tragedy in Shanghai, the loss of yet another plane over a cold and inhospitable sea.
We completed the book of Genesis this shabbat, and it too ends with tales of death. The deaths of both Jacob and Joseph conclude the book that began with the creation of the world.
However, the next book, Exodus, immediately begins with birth-the birth of the Israelite people followed by the birth of Moses himself, who will lead that people to freedom. Perhaps the Torah message of death followed by birth will carry over into this new year. May 2015 be year when we see less death and sadness, and more birth and joy and renewal.