Clock or Bomb?
This week a bright, innovative American-Muslim teenager, Ahmed Mohamed,
successfully built a working, home-made, digital clock, and brought it to
school to show his teacher. Unfortunately, that's where things began to
sour for the promising young student.
Teachers at the Texas school thought it looked very suspicious. Thinking it
was a bomb, they called the police. Mohamed was handcuffed, escorted from
the building by law enforcement officials, and taken to a juvenile
detention facility for several hours before being released. The police have
made it clear they will not be filing charges, but the school has suspended
Ahmed for three days, regardless.
Ahmed's story has captured the interest of people across the nation, and
#IStandwithAhmed was the number one trending hashtag yesterday.
Understandably, people are outraged that a young 14-year-old was handcuffed
and interrogated, accused of building a bomb, when he is simply an aspiring
engineer, who enjoys tinkering with and building working electronic
Support on social media has been tremendous, with President Obama tweeting
an invite to the White House:
"Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire
more kids like you to like science. It's what makes America great."
Numerous science camps, contests and programs have offered Ahmed a spot,
Mark Zuckerberg invited him to stop by Facebook headquarters anytime, and
Twitter offered him an internship!
And so, Ahmed became an instant national celebrity, discussed and supported
over all over the internet.
This Tuesday night we will usher in the holiest and most serious day of the
year, Yom Kippur—the Day of Judgment. On this day all our thoughts, words
and actions over the past 12 months are replayed and evaluated by the
heavenly court. And some look very suspicious. All the juicy gossip we
enjoyed, the slander and lies we told, promises we made and broke...all
this is held against us by the prosecuting angels. They insist on severe
So the Chief of Police—the Almighty Himself—is called, and He takes on our
case. G-d examines the facts, but he also looks at our current behavior and
state of mind. He sees us in the synagogue, pouring out our very heart and
soul. He sees the depth of our regret and our deep desire for repentance
and improvement. He sees our very essence, and how genuinely good we really
are, despite the many misdeeds we have accumulated.
That's when G-d takes out his "digital clock" and turns time back. The
Talmud tells us that the sins we committed, even deliberately, are turned
into mitzvahs. G-d changes all the sins we committed over the past year and
turns transforms them into good deeds!
But that's not all. G-d goes even further and says we were wrongly accused
in the first place, and He is so outraged that He invites us to His "house"
for the festival of Sukkot. "You were accused unjustly," He says. "Really
and truly you are good and kind and for seven days I want you to be My
personal guest in My house. Please come!"
As Yom Kippur approaches, let's make sure we are ready to pray and repent
from the depths of our hearts, so we'll be ready for G-d to invite us into
His home on Sukkot next week.
Rabbi Levi Goldstein
Sent from My iPad