- Posted by Elaine Zecher
- On May 22, 2020
- 0 Comments
Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings, our weekly reflection as we make our way towards Shabbat. You can listen to it as a podcast HERE.
We have a cartoon hanging on the wall in our kitchen. It is entitled, “understatement of the year.” It shows Moses standing upon the mountain holding the two tablet of the commandments with the caption, “I gotta tell you…There’s gonna be a lot of sad faces.”
Next week, starting on Thursday night, we mark the festival of Shavuot. Just as Passover marks the exodus from Egypt, Shavuot recalls the receiving of the Torah. In the meantime, on this Shabbat, we begin the book of Numbers which details the Israelite experience in the wilderness. One idea that connects all three, Passover, Shavuot, and the wilderness is the anxiety expressed by the Jewish people as they left slavery uncertain of their future, stood at the foot of Mt Sinai frightened by the thunder and lightning around them, and wandered through unknown territory on their way (they hoped) to the land of great promise. The Torah is filled with their worry for their own safety. The early story of our people is filled with fright.
And for good reason. The Torah recognizes that life is not easy. We are perpetually challenged. And yet, receiving the Torah provided a pathway. The root of the word, Torah, itself, connotes direction, like an arrow shot out of a bow or like a teacher or parent who serves as a guide on the path of life. The Torah is a protective shield from the anxiety and fear because it provides instructions that are more than mere laws. Studying Torah and mining its words for meaning allows us to keep moving, to venture forth even when we feel worried.
This past week has been filled with continued apprehension accompanied by many governmental issued guidelines. We have a long way to go, something like a trek through the wilderness of uncertainty before we arrive to safety. These guidelines are worthy of our consideration, however, as we very slowly and with much patience make our way, carefully and with a healthy dose of trepidation. It will be the only way we will ever arrive to the land of great promise.
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