Tonight, as we begin Shabbat (the Sabbath), Jewish communities around the world will reflect upon the themes of Vayikra (Leviticus 1:1-5:26; Isaiah 43:21-44:23) which begins with the Holy One calling out to Moses and instructing him to enter the newly built Sanctuary. This biblical section is immediately preceded by last week’s biblical passage from the end of Exodus, where a thick cloud covered the Sanctuary to such an extent that Moses had been unable to enter.
Traditional rabbinic commentary understands the juxtaposition of these two biblical texts, as a reminder that there are times when we are unable to pray or discern the presence of the Holy One, but that these moments will eventually dissipate, and we will find our way back to peace, serenity and faith. This week is also the beginning of the Jewish month of Nissan, which corresponds to the start of the a moon. The new moon also reminds us that after total darkness, Light will return.
During this terrifying new reality, as we watch the numbers of deaths rise around the country, we pray for the leaders, scientists, doctors, nurses and caregivers who are working to perform miracles at their own peril. It can feel as if our own world has become submerged into a deep cloud of darkness. And yet, if we focus on the tremendous courage and heroic acts of kindness that are also evident in the midst of this pandemic, we can discern Glimmers of Light. Like Moses, we are called to trust that this cloud will dissipate, and we to will find our way back…
May this Shabbat (Sabbath) bring Shalom (healing, wholeness and peace). Let us focus upon the Light that we see, and do our part to grow and tend these Sparks of Light, that they may soon shine brightly with healing and blessing. Just as Moses was able to find his way back into the Sanctuary, so may we find our way back to wellness and hope, faith and redemption… and may this time come soon and speedily, and may we each be instruments of healing and encouragement along the way.
The AJC has started the #BeAMensch as a way to highlight and celebrate those Sparks of Light in our darkened world, so that we can hold onto Light and faith, and find our way back to blessing…for more information: www.ajc.org/beamensch
Rabbi Dr. Nadia Siritsky, MSSW, BCC