- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On May 10, 2019
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, a weekly reflection as we move toward Shabbat.
The Talmud (Shevuot 39a) insists:
Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh,
Which means all of Israel are responsible for each other.
This formative piece of Jewish literature and law did not know from a country. It understood what responsibility each individual Jew has toward another.
But, what about everyone else?
At a time when we are ever vigilant of being “othered,” dare we even consider the possibility that we could be guilty of “othering” those not Jewish? Shouldn’t we have an obligation to every person regardless of religious, gender, ethnicity, or racial identity?
Absolutely, and, at the same time, we must be watchful and attentive that we have the protections we need to be safe and secure. This is a both/and situation.
If we look closely at this phrase that we are responsible for one another, we understand how much, we, must be guarantors for each other. Therefore, we start by practicing among our own family and those within the Jewish orbit. But we can’t stop here. Jewish tradition demands that the circles move outward like a pebble dropped into a pond that ripples and includes everyone. To create a beautiful and redeemed world, it will be because we approach the responsibility seriously to take care of each other no matter where we come from, who we are, or what community we are a part of.
At the end of each service, we offer these words, a creative interpretation of one of the last prayers, as a sacred reminder.
Our calling is to praise the Living Source. Our duty is…to be guardians of the earth and messengers of Torah; [ours is] a destiny shared with all human beings…
We gather for Qabbalat Shabbat at 6:00 p.m. tonight. If you are unable to join us, live stream here. Torah Study begins tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. with a short service followed by a lively Torah discussion.
This Shabbat, RYFTI, our teen Youth Group, are away with our Education Staff and Rabbi Jacobson for Clergy Weekend with the rest of the Clergy joining them on Shabbat afternoon.
I appreciate your thoughts and reflections, please connect with me directly here.