In this week’s Torah portion, we’re going to talk about zoning laws!
Please, try to contain your excitement here folks.
Actually, the double portion has an enlightening series of commandment regarding how the Israelites should set up their permanent home, and frankly, it does read like an ancient zoning and mass transit “Smart Growth” plan.
Now, about light rail.
I have experience with light rail because I used to hang out in Portland, Oregon a lot. And light rail there is as important as yeast in challah. I just got used to it, and missed it when I moved to Atlanta, my current home.
I never understood why Portland was able to enact legislation for light rail when Atlanta couldn’t. Mind you, I’m not using this website to advocate for or against any issue. I’m really just curious about why Oregon could do it, but Georgia can’t. Frankly, more people benefit from light rail here than out there, and we already have an infrastructure for it.
Then I read an article about the opponents of light rail in Atlanta. Interestingly enough, the key issue was not that they were against public transit, or against the tax increase to pay for it. Rather, they didn’t trust MARTA (the transit authority) to run the new train system.
Trust is key here. Just as the Israelites trusted God, and were therefore able to build Biblical society, so must we understand that today, the only way to get anything meaningfully done is if the will of the people aligns with those in power.
Matot Massei (Circle Pit the Bimah)