“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.”
“What does it mean for us to notice, without trying to erase or block out our imperfections?” asks Rabbi Samantha Natov, while inspiring us to embrace our most complete selves.
Ahead of 2019, Rabbi Samantha Natov encourages us to build habits to better ourselves, and use Shabbat as a way to periodically check on our spiritual progress.