Rabbi’s Weekly Email – November 5, 2020 Post Election

Hello Temple Sinai,

I hope this finds you well, and finding ways to avoid relentless checking the numbers from the election. May the count proceed peacefully and the outcome reflect the will of the people. This is a time of uncertainty. I’ve heard many people say that religious faith is about a foolish need for certainty, but I disagree. I think faith is about staying connected to the divine within us, to our highest self, even when we are in the midst of uncertainty and upheaval. We are part of an ancient tradition that has seen more ups and downs, more political conflict, more civil discord than most of us can even imagine. The bible itself is a record of uprisings, rebellions, civil wars and political failures. In the past century, we have seen unimaginable political evil, and at the same time we have seen people come together to create what our ancestors could only pray for. Faith has kept the ark of our people afloat through the worst storms of history. As we go through this time of uncertainty, let’s be caring with our words, with our ability to become inflamed by fear or anger. Take time for prayer and for breathing to stay connected to the divine goodness within. Let’s not let our anxieties and fears take us off the path of our best self, our own inner tzaddik, the mensch within.

Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav offered this prayer that I think helps us remember to be our best self:

Ruler of all worlds,
May it be your will that the light of Your face be reflected in mine.
May my mouth speak only what is true.
May my eyes see the good in all that I meet.
May my ears be attentive to the troubles of those who address me.
May I breathe the awe of You, so that I lovingly face all that I meet.
May the words of my mouth be acceptable my Rock and Rescue.

No matter how you voted, or whether you voted, let’s not let politics blind us to our common hopes, our common humanity, and our common peoplehood. As Jews, we have maintained our bonds in the face of political storms much fiercer than this American presidency. Let’s not let todays’ political divides drive a wedge between us. Remember there are those all along the political spectrum who wish us harm just for being Jews, and they don’t much care who we voted for. We are an already small minority – we need each other. As the Talmud teaches, לזה זה ערבין ישראל כל  – Kol Yisrael Aravin Zeh bah Zeh – All Israel is responsible for one another.

I want to offer a Mazel Tov to Dr. Mark Levine who received this year’s Distinguished Service Award from the Vermont Medical Society. Dr. Levine was given their highest honor for his outstanding work overseeing Vermont’s response to the COVID epidemic. We are all grateful to Dr. Levine for his service and for his leadership in seeing that Vermont has among the lowest numbers in the country. Mazel Tov.

If you haven’t already, please give to the Annual Fund. We aren’t doing other fundraisers this year because of COVID, and it would mean a lot to us to get 100% participation, no matter the amount. So please give.

Shalom,

David

A class that is starting THIS Sunday, Nov 8, from 11am – 12:15pm. Please let Stacie know if you are interested.

See additional event information on our home page.