December, 2020

In the 1980’s, AT&T encouraged us to “Reach out and touch someone.”  Almost 40 years later, many of us are searching for ways to reach out beyond our Smart phones as the current pandemic continues to isolate the multitudes across our planet.  Even with all of the technological and medical advances of these past 4 decades, many of us feel lost and frightened right now.  But, maybe, just maybe, all is not lost.

We are approaching the season of miracles and, yes, miracles continue to happen.  In the Mi Chamocha, we sing about our crossing the Red Sea to freedom.  “Who is like you, Adonai, among the gods?  Who is like You in holiness?  Doing wonders…”  Doing wonders.  Not, “Who did wonders,” but, rather, the use of the present tense, telling us that they are still happening today.  

When our community gathered (via Zoom, of course) for a recent Torah study, we explored how our ancestors faced challenges and calamities.  Some ran from them, some ranted about them, some took the bull by the horns and crafted plans and still others prayed.  In all of these, G-d was part of the mix.  He listened to the rants, accompanied those on the run, blessed the plans and heard the prayers.  But, what about now?

In Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, the author focuses not on why awful things happen, but what we can do when they befall us.  Our forefathers and foremothers left us a blueprint, if only we take the time to look at it.  Sometimes, our challenges can be paralyzing; sometimes they motivate us.  Regardless, it’s always okay to call on G-d—to listen to our fears, to inspire our next moves, to assure us we are not facing life alone.  And, He will answer us, but we need to be listening, as G-d speaks in a still small voice, and sometimes without words at all.  

When G-d returns your call, and He will, please answer with “Hineini,” as did so many who came before us.  We can say, “Yeah, I’m here,” or “Hineini, I am present,” the only way to hear G-d’s voice.  If we remain present, we’ll be able to answer on the first ring, see the wonders already surrounding us and be ready to witness the miracles yet to unfold.  And they will, because we’re ready, we desperately need them and because this is the season when miracles happen.

Wishing you a happy, peaceful, healthy and meaningful Chanukah~

 

Kol tuv,

 

R’Andra 

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