Letters to The Editor: Week of June 10, 2013

As a Verizon Subscriber

For all I know, my phone number and call log may have been netted by the National Security Agency.  Established more than half a century ago, the Agency serves two purposes:

“The Information Assurance mission confronts the formidable challenge of preventing foreign adversaries from gaining access to sensitive or classified national security information. The Signals Intelligence mission collects, processes, and disseminates intelligence information from foreign signals for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes and to support military operations. This Agency also enables Network Warfare operations to defeat terrorists and their organizations at home and abroad, consistent with U.S. laws and the protection of privacy and civil liberties.” http://www.nsa.gov/about/mission/index.shtml

Following the events of 9/11, its scope of activities was broadened.  However, included in its broadened scope were “maintaining and strengthening privacy and civil liberties protections.”

Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

In other words, if we weren’t already, 9/11 was a milestone in our collective schizophrenia.  Alas, schizophrenia is familiar to the Chosen People.  It is underscored in the very appellations we assign our Creator, namely, Adonai and Elohim.  Irrespective of their etymologies, rabbinic tradition has accorded Adonai the attribute of Mercy, and to Elohim the attribute of Justice.  Our persistent challenge, both as a nation and as a People, is and will be how to adjust these emphases appropriately without undue damage to either.  

Supposedly, Congressional oversight weighs in on these adjustments.  Our legislators must take responsibility for giving mixed signals to administrative agencies rather than lobbing Molotov cocktails to curry favor with riled constituents.

Rabbi Scott B. Saulson,

Interim Rabbi, Congregation B’nai El