The pop of firecrackers and the explosion of light and color across the black sky mark the arrival of the fourth day of the month of July just as they have for past 239 years since John Hancock and his fellow rebels signed the Declaration of Independence. For me, the joy and glory that accompany this holiday are bit subdued this time around. The liberty that we celebrate has been redefined through the years, and its boundaries are significantly more confining than they were when I was a youth.
Israel’s enemy destroyed the beautiful temple that was Israel’s pride and joy. Years later, it was rebuilt and the young men cheered and danced in celebration. But when the old men walked through, they wept bitter tears because the new temple lacked the awe inspiring magnificence of the old. Gone were the soaring walls that glowed golden in the evening sun. The arches, the porches, the stunning views, all gone. The young men had never walked through the old temple so they had nothing to compare their present to. The old men, however, knew what had been lost. The shouts of the young and the cries of the old mingled together until the joy and the sadness became indistinguishable.