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Rabbi's Week in Review - 1/2/2023

01/02/2023 05:40:23 PM

Jan2

I/we take this time to reflect on our lives, both communally and individually. Not so much because of celebrating the secular new year (although that’s not a bad reason to do some productive contemplation), but rather that in our very short and colder days, days filled with more darkness than light, we naturally take on a more internal focus. We search for the light within.

In our daily study of a page of Talmud, Daf Yomi, we are presently studying Nedarim, translated as vows. In discussing the myriad rules and Halakhic controversies regarding the efficacy of vows, the overarching theme is that they are both taken very seriously and somewhat frowned upon. The difficulty in keeping a vow is seen as part and parcel of the human condition, despite our best intentions. (See our Kol Nidre prayer.) The resolutions made on January 1 are generally understood to be of a short, finite nature. Who among us has kept one?

Yet, we can commit ourselves to something or someone. Using our sense of contemplation/reflection as a catalyst of that commitment, we can commit ourselves to a greater sense of concern for the others in our lives. Certainly this is true for the people with whom we are the closest. On a more communal level, we can commit to building the kind of Jewish community at Congregation Kol Ami that becomes a foundation of care and concern for the other.

It can be a place of emotional sanctuary, a place where those who have yet to find a place where they feel needed and cared for can find it with us. We can be the place where the community knows we concern ourselves for the marginalized in our community and in our world.  

In the weeks and months to come, we will be setting up small group meetings, seeking out the voices of congregants, others in our broader community and the congregants yet to be, to see how we can do even more to be the type of Jewish community to which we aspire. In these chaotic, challenging and isolating (read: Covid) times, a community that leads with care and concern for the other is needed now more than ever.

May our 2023 be a year of healing and growth. 

Sun, February 5 2023 14 Shevat 5783