Talmud this Shabbat: What the Prophet Amos Teaches Us That We All Need to Hear Right Now


Amos, the 3rd of our twelve prophets, has much to teach us as we enter the 7th week of our lockdown.

Amos was overwhelmingly negative. Doom and gloom. Mr. Pessimism. He literally tells the King of Israel you are going to die by the sword, the kingdom is going to be destroyed, your sons and daughters will all fall by the sword, the people will be exiled. More than 90% of his prophecy is unrelievedly dour and sour. Our Amos texts are here.

What’s so interesting is that nobody reads Amos’ grim pronouncements but Bible scholars. Amos is famous for two things. He is quoted by Martin Luther King, Jr. in the I Have a Dream speech. He has a rare optimistic chapter that is chosen as a Haftarah and from which language is taken for the grace after meals.

His overwhelming pessimism does not stick.

His rare sparks of optimism are what we remember.

Seven weeks of lockdown wear anyone down. But Amos teaches us that pessimism accomplishes absolutely nothing.

Find your glimmer. We need hope.

See you Shabbat morning at 8:30. Gann Chapel Livestream.