Sign In Forgot Password
Activities and in-person religious services have been suspended out of concern for congregant and community health.
Read additional information on our and .

What will they say?

04/30/2020 09:07:09 AM

Apr30

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

Amid this period of self-quarantine, we continue with Sefirat Ha-Omer, the period where we count up from the second Seder for forty-nine days, until we arrive at Shavuot, the agricultural festival that celebrates God giving the Torah at Mt. Sinai. There is another counting period that began prior, and that is the number of days that we have been primarily in our homes. There is no specific beginning date, as it varies from state to state, even city to city, but each of us has been counting, whether it is literally or proverbially. I note that the first live-streamed Friday evening service that I offered was on March 13, so this coming Shabbat will be our fiftieth day of live-streamed services. None of us has enough scientific information to make smart choices as to when we should begin to ease the restrictions. Balancing the varied needs of physical health with economic health cannot be easy, but we will endeavor to make the best choices possible with the most up-to-date information available.

Many have spoken and written about the appearance of our worst when we are most severely challenged like this. Uncertainty and fear can lead to raw emotions, and it is sad to see when some people make less than ideal choices. All of us must follow the lead of the good people making not only sensible choices, but compassionate and generous choices: Individuals and companies donating supplies and funds to help others; Teachers and administrators going far beyond expectations; Health care professionals continuously giving their all, with some making the ultimate sacrifice as they work hard to save others.

Judaism is not about learning if the learning does not lead to doing. Mitzvot are meant to be done. Yet with physical distancing, we cannot perform many of our mitzvot in the manner to which we are accustomed. I submit to you that the mitzvot have not changed, but their delivery system has.  For example, in lieu of visiting someone in the hospital, if possible, call them.  We can honor our parents and elders, if we have been physical separate from them, not only through technology. If we live nearby, if safe to do so, we drive over and talk from our car. Perhaps someone needs supplies and groceries that you can pick up and leave at their door? How about writing a letter to someone who is unable to access a computer or smart phone? You get the idea.

Whom we really are has become apparent at this time. You can think about the people in your life, and judge their actions over these past weeks.  They will probably do the same about you. What are people saying about you? While it is less likely that you will be able to change others by what you say, it is likely that not only might you change others by what you do, but you yourself might change, as well as what they say about you. Now is a good time to think about the future. What will they say about you?

Amid this period of self-quarantine, we continue with Sefirat Ha-Omer, the period where we count up from the second Seder for forty-nine days, until we arrive at Shavuot, the agricultural festival that celebrates God giving the Torah at Mt. Sinai. There is another counting period that began prior, and that is the number of days that we have been primarily in our homes. There is no specific beginning date, as it varies from state to state, even city to city, but each of us has been counting, whether it is literally or proverbially. I note that the first live-streamed Friday evening service that I offered was on March 13, so this coming Shabbat will be our fiftieth day of live-streamed services. None of us has enough scientific information to make smart choices as to when we should begin to ease the restrictions. Balancing the varied needs of physical health with economic health cannot be easy, but we will endeavor to make the best choices possible with the most up-to-date information available.

Many have spoken and written about the appearance of our worst when we are most severely challenged like this. Uncertainty and fear can lead to raw emotions, and it is sad to see when some people make less than ideal choices. All of us must follow the lead of the good people making not only sensible choices, but compassionate and generous choices: Individuals and companies donating supplies and funds to help others; Teachers and administrators going far beyond expectations; Health care professionals continuously giving their all, with some making the ultimate sacrifice as they work hard to save others.

Judaism is not about learning if the learning does not lead to doing. Mitzvot are meant to be done. Yet with physical distancing, we cannot perform many of our mitzvot in the manner to which we are accustomed. I submit to you that the mitzvot have not changed, but their delivery system has.  For example, in lieu of visiting someone in the hospital, if possible, call them.  We can honor our parents and elders, if we have been physical separate from them, not only through technology. If we live nearby, if safe to do so, we drive over and talk from our car. Perhaps someone needs supplies and groceries that you can pick up and leave at their door? How about writing a letter to someone who is unable to access a computer or smart phone? You get the idea.

Whom we really are has become apparent at this time. You can think about the people in your life, and judge their actions over these past weeks.  They will probably do the same about you. What are people saying about you? While it is less likely that you will be able to change others by what you say, it is likely that not only might you change others by what you do, but you yourself might change, as well as what they say about you. Now is a good time to think about the future. What will they say about you?

Sun, May 24 2020 1 Sivan 5780