When I met Duncan, he had never kept kosher in his life. On our second date, when it seemed like there might be more dates in our future, he asked me about what it meant for me, a conservative rabbinical student, to be dating him, a life-long bacon cheeseburger-eating reform Jew (his words, not mine).
As we prepare to enter back into “chag,” it seems the to-do list outstrips the time-to-do. So, apropos of The Little Prince, which one of my boys was recently reading, and the Little Planet from which he came, here is a “Little Oasis.” After the holidays end, I will return to the regular format that includes a summary and questions for the Shabbat table.
This Passover, the seders will indeed be a different night for so many obvious reasons. Many of the people we normally share the evening with may be far away—or even half a mile away. But for all intents and purposes, they might as well be across the world. That will be different. Many of us will be holding our seders by Zoom. That will surely be different.
How do you find spiritual fulfillment? Maybe it's through traditional prayer, or maybe it's through a walk in the woods or a jam session with friends. This week's Torah portion suggests it might be confusing to offer alternative paths to spiritual connection, but as a rabbi I take the opposite approach.
As COVID 19 continues to spread, Oregon has finally come under a complete lock-down, called “Stay Home, Stay Safe.” Despite the euphemistic name, this new order, and the restrictions leading up to it, have posed severe challenges to a religion and a culture that are centered on gathering, praying and breaking bread together.
As we read Parshat Vayikra, especially at a time when our community simply is not physically able to come together in person to apologize, to forgive, and to move on, we are reminded that each of us holds the key to our own journey to forgiveness. And perhaps an added benefit of this period of isolation is merely the time to look inward and finally use that key. Shabbat shalom.