America – The Dream and the Image

“We will be free when we worship the God who made us instead of the gods we make.”      

In his sermon of December 16, 1962, “AMERICA – The Dream and the Image,” Rabbi Olan begins with the second commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image.”  We are not to “[substitute] an image for God Himself.”

He expands this theme with a far-ranging discussion of the manipulation of images in his day (and ours) in all aspects of our society and our lives.  These manufactured images obscure our real goals, our real tasks, our ideals. 

Rabbi Olan exhorts us to “recognize [our illusions] for what they are and free ourselves from them.”  As he frequently does, he turns to the Prophets for advice about how to act on our ideals.  He also reminds us that “Ideals can never be attained, they represent a distant, yet ever present goal which gives life its reach and stretch.”  It is this which “gives purpose for our days.”

(Rabbi Olan quotes the books of Exodus and Jeremiah, Voltaire, Oscar Wilde, and Daniel J. Boorstin.)

**Guest blogger: Frances Olan**