In Between Hope and Despair

We are in between. In the middle of Passover and in the middle of quarantine. Today we know how much longer Passover is; but we remain unsure how long we will stay in our homes and what we will discover when we are able to exit. This kind of uncertainty can lead to a darkness of despair and inwardness that leaves no room for hope. 

The Rabbis teach: a jailed person cannot free him or herself. We each have the capacity to heal others and we need others in order to be healed. We live in a web of deep interconnection. This quarantine reminds us how much havoc occurs as that web is untangled. It is all the more incumbent upon us to heal what we can and help those whom we may.

I have already asked you to feed those who are hungry and to help those on the brink of homelessness find homes. Please continue to give to LifeMoves and so many other worthy causes helping day laborers and others, including immigrants here legally and here without legal entry. Today, in the midst of Passover, I want you to remember your own homes.

Many of us employ gardeners, house cleaners, and others. I encourage you to continue paying even if you are no longer receiving service. Send a check to your cleaner; pay your nail salon technician or barber as if you had gotten the normal services you would receive. We want those people to be there when we emerge from quarantine, and even more we want them to be housed and fed during this time of separation.

Further, we are blessed by the plethora of people who continue to make our lives possible. Tip the Doordash delivery person; write a thank you note with a check to the sanitation workers who collect your garbage. That UPS person? Make sure he or she knows how grateful you are for what they are doing. There are people out everyday risking exposure to keep life functioning. Let us remember and appreciate what they are doing.

I believe if we spend some time in gratitude, some time remembering those who care for us, that our own mood of despair can be pierced by hope. The jailed cannot free him or herself; but sometimes the act of caring for others, of helping others rediscover hope, can itself be freeing. 

I believe God is the hope of all. I believe that when we are partners with God in caring for others then God in turn reaches out to us. Offering gratitude to others alleviates stress; caring for those who provide us with services similarly creates a quality of caring that can enter our own lives from God, the divine, the deepest recesses of our soul.

May these last days of Passover be filled with hope and redemption, so that we can be renewed to be God’s partners in healing what can be healed at this time of separation and quarantine. And join all of us Thursday evening at 8:30pm for a special 15-minute service to mark the end of Passover as one community, one people, one Kol Emeth. We need you now more than ever!

Happy Passover,

Rabbi David Booth

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