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By — May 17, 2010 2:06am
By Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom (English)

There's hardly a more applicable haftarah (prophetic reading) for a human rights movement than this week's reading, Hosea 2:1-22, which ends with God's promise to renew the covenant with Israel thus:


I will betroth you to me forever

I will betroth you to me with justice and righteousness, with love and mercy

I will betroth you to me with faithfulness, and you will know the Lord (2:21-22)


These words are especially appropriate as a tribute to Rabbi David Forman, RHR's founder, who passed away last week, as they are a statement of the basic unity of conscientious action, human decency and the quest for God in which he so strongly believed.

David never shied away from controversy, leading RHR as it took Judaism to the barricades – and bringing the barricades into the Beit Midrash (halls of study). This courageous path, a fulfillment of another passage from this haftarah: “Rebuke your mother (who has erred), rebuke her (2:4)”, is often (perhaps usually) a thankless task, but it is part and parcel of the prophetic mission which RHR strives to fulfill. 

It is always tempting to yield to the embrace of the establishment, to serve the false gods of power, money and prestige. RHR will preserve David's legacy by becoming fearlessly and uncompromisingly devoted to human rights and not national claims, living on the fringes on bread and water until the human family worships God with one accord (Zephaniah 3:9)