Rabbi Samantha Natov explores the human desire for happiness and fulfillment, and examines Judaism’s take on what it means to feel “spiritually whole” and “connected.” She reminds us to be mindful and present and to practice gratitude, and demonstrates how fulfilling mitzvot can give us a sense of purpose.
This week a congregant and I were talking about reports of the heart breaking situation at holding camps for migrant children. She expressed how furious she was when she first heard about the separated families. Like many of us, she expressed her outrage by signing petitions, marching in rallies, contributing to various aid organizations and writing to her local representatives. She yelled on Facebook and Twitter “How could this be happening? How in our country, in America, which holds family ties as sacred?”
“Because there are so few righteous individuals, God intentionally spreads them out,” explains Rabbi Samantha Natov while discussing righteous acts described in the Torah. “Miracles happen every time a small act of kindness leads others to participate in that kindness and multiply the deed – and every moment presents an opportunity to make a choice that brings goodness into the world.”
On Friday after Memorial Day and a recent personal loss, Rabbi Samantha Natov recalled the story of Yodea, the Angel of Losses, who spends all of his time digging for what we lose in our lives. “He reminds us that we’re all still in a relationship with a loved one who is no longer with us. As we search, with the light of our souls, we find strands left behind — and bind up their memories so they may live on through us.”
In this week’s parasha, the sons of Aaron, Avihu and Nadav, are killed without warning after making an offering of fire to God. “It has puzzled scholars for millennia,” says Rabbi Samantha Natov. “But maybe this story is supposed to function similarly to a modern horror film and allow us to ponder the transience of life and possibility of arbitrary violence from a safe distance.”