Feeling Red, White and Blue By Rabbi Adam Ross
Feeling red, white & BLUE
Waking up this morning to the terrible news from Nice of another horrific hateful crime and more devastating loss of life, we somberly resonate once again with the tricolour and the French people.
As the red, white and blue stripes yet again fly at half mast, one of these stripes, the blue perhaps more than any other colour reminds us, as Jews of our deep connection, to our brothers and sisters not only in France.
The blue stripe was chosen along with the red and white as Napoleon's flag in 1794 as he unified France yet it was chosen for us as Jews thousands of years earlier as part of the mitzvah of tzitzit.
The distinct shade of blue, known as ‘tchelilet’, is the same route as the word techola, a word used by Egyptians for 'mourning,' and is intended to stir our imaginations back to the colour of the dark blue dusky sky the night we left Egypt, when we gained our freedom but where thousands of Egyptians drowned at sea.
If we can find a place in our hearts to feel the pain of those who oppressed us, then how much more so, should we remain sensitive to our other peace loving fellow citizens of the world wherever they be.
Even though the original sea snail needed to make the special blue dye was lost for many centuries and is far less prominent in Jewish dress than it used to be, the State of Israel chose this blue strand to adorn its national flag, as so too we must never lose the sensitivity to our fellow citizens of humanity that this beautiful mitzvah instills in us.
We stand in deep shock and sadness at the atrocity that took place in France today, we mourn the loss of innocent life brutally taken away and pray for a new dawn and a spirit of brotherhood across all nations where we will know no more pain.
Vive la France