Ushpizin and the Pope
The Jewish mystic tradition, through the Zohar, speaks of the Ushpizin, the greats of Jewish history as welcome guests to our Sukkah.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron and David, along with Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, Leah, Miriam, Abigail and Esther are our honored visitors. They bring with them the ideals and values central to Judaism and are sacred honored guests at our table, if only metaphorically.
Here in Philadelphia we had the opportunity to add another name to the honored guests. This one is Pope Francis. His Holiness speaks of values that we hold sacred. He speaks truth to power, even when that truth is uncomfortable. He illumines a path of joy and happiness, purpose and service, a meaningful life that extends beyond ourselves, in service to others. He is the Pope of the Catholics, but he is also a Pope for the World. Pope Francis has stretched out his arms to embrace Jews as brothers and sisters. He does this through his long-standing friendship and collaboration with Rabbi Skorka of Argentina. He also reaches out to the Jewish people through his support of Israel and his blessing of “Sinagoga and Ecclesia, In our Time,” a magnificent statue dedicated to the profound understanding of brotherhood between our two religious traditions commemorated on the fiftieth anniversary of Nostra Aetate.
We are blessed to have Pope Francis in our midst. May his vision and teachings empower all of us to work to build a better world together.