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Yom Shabbat, 3 Iyyar 5777

Invocation – California State Senate
February 14, 2014

We pray to God, to all that is Transcendent, to all that is sacred, to the conscience that resides in each of us:  In a world filled with turbulence and chaos, we are grateful for this body of Legislators and leaders who seek to make California a more safe, humane and just place.  In this world where we are in great need of hope and optimism, our hearts yearn for leadership that will give us that inspiration.

We ask that on this Valentine’s Day that you our leaders take to heart in your work the real meaning of love and compassion and look beyond the commercialism of this holiday.  Love is about caring, respecting, listening, feeling and really being there for other people.  Love is about seeing beyond laws and partisan challenges and knowing that the important work you do is because you, all of you, want more people to live in a society where they are shown love and compassion and have every opportunity to fulfill their dream of a meaningful and good life.

As Ghandi said” “Where there is love, there is life.”  I would modify that just a bit for the world of 2014 – Unless we really start appreciating the value of love and really loving the people we share this planet with, we run the risk of doing great damage to community, culture and life.

May you be granted courage and humility as you continue to do this sacred work – and may you continue to appreciate that just as important as justice and equality are to the people of California - love and compassion are of vital importance.  It is through your work and transforming ideals into reality that we shape a world that is more loving and humane.

Rabbi Lee Bycel
Congregation Beth Shalom, Napa