Shabbat of Renewing

Dear friends,
 
Another turn around the sun is complete.
 
While I carry many snippets of memories from my youth, the first year I recall marking in its fullness was 1983. This was mostly because of Michael Jackson’s epic album, Thriller. It was a big part of my universe; the outfits, the hypnotic rhythm of "Beat It" and "Billie Jean," the entertaining terror of the "Thriller" music video, and Michael’s mesmerizing moonwalk. Some years are more memorable than others.  
 
The last couple years have been unforgettable, and mostly not in a good way.

In this week’s Torah portion God remembers God’s commitment to the Israelites, “I have now heard the moaning of the Israelites because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.”  (Exodus 6:5)

The bible scholar Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg writes God is responding to Moses' loving agitation from one chapter earlier, “O Adonai, why did You bring harm upon this people? Why did You send me?” (Exodus 5:22)

Moses models questioning the Divine, and in turn, what we learn by rigorously questioning and reflecting on our own lives. Awakening to injustice and the suffering of those around us (and in one’s soul) and then questioning why it exists is an essential element for transformation, even for the Divine. Too often, in our own lives and communities, we tolerate enslavement of the mind, or narratives that do not serve us.  As we prepare ourselves to enter the year 2022, questions for your consideration:
  • How am I grateful for all I have in my life and how will I express that appreciation to others?
  • What will I do to create more opportunities for spiritual nourishment, joy, laughter, and friends and family?
  • What tough yet loving questions do I need to ask of myself and others to move us closer to a more just, fair, and compassionate world? 
Let us be generous with ourselves and others as we renew our commitments knowing this is a bumpy path others have walked before us.

I look forward to seeing you online tonight for table blessing and services.

Shabbat shalom,

Benjamin

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