On the Shabbat before Passover, each Israelite household was commanded to watch over a lamb for four days before using its blood to mark their doorposts. “God wanted the Israelites to earn their freedom — even if it was simply by keeping watch,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “So today, each of us must do something — even if it’s simply keeping watch — to restore our freedoms.”
“We read in the Book of Daniel, ‘thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.’ We must pass this test — or there will be incalculable human suffering,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “Have patience. Keep these monotonous days in perspective. They will not last forever.”
We never really think about how connected we are with everybody else,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “This week's Torah portion emphasizes that Moses assembled the entire people of Israel in order to complete the tabernacle. Like the Israelites, to defeat this unseen enemy — COVID-19 — each of us has a role to play.”
Friday's full Kabbalat Shabbat service is here.
As we focus on “social distancing” and staying healthy in the challenging months ahead, Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch urges us “to focus on the things that really matter to us: life, family, friends, meaning, purpose.”
“When we are anxious and afraid, we often act unintelligently — with little wisdom and with pervasive cruelty,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. As the coronavirus looms, what we need is a good, strong dose of courage, sense and heart.