Beautiful Spiritual Art by Michelle Katz

This week’s music: A Child’s Blessing

Dedicated to the strength, commitment and giving of our medical people, a speedy healing for those who are ill and in loving memory for all whose souls were returned to heaven.

For most of us, understandably so, our focus over the past six weeks has been, “pikuach nefesh,” saving lives. What can I do to help prevent further physical damage brought on by this plague? Perhaps the time has come for me to make some space, particularly during this period between Pesach and Shavout, to also ask myself where have I been before this started and where am I going to, with God’s help, after it will end.

Friends there is news from another side. There have been so many beautiful changes and personal fixings that have taken place and elevated us all during these trying times. Let’s start with the amazing commitment to the “mitzvah” of Kibbud of va’em,” honoring one’s parents, so beautifully displayed by our children during Pesach all over The Holy Land. “Abba and Ema, I put my feelings aside regarding sharing Seder night with you in order to show the utmost respect to you and the preciousness of your life.” What a joy to celebrate a “chag” knowing how dedicated your children are.

I just came back from a 500 meter walk around the neighborhood. All smiles, everyone says hello, neighbors helping others in every way. Today I heard something so beautiful from a mother of four. “This experience has been so intense and it seems to bring everything out right in front of you. It is a lot to digest and make sense of, but I am actually seeing moms who have spent more than four weeks at home with their kids, who are not only doing pretty well, but beginning to really love it. There is growing talk about going back to the former lifestyle and these moms are realizing that they were not as happy then as they are now. What a blessing to have your eyes opened and have the luxury to see the truth of who I am!”

Yes certainly people are sharing a stronger sense of security with one another. We are not taking “caring” for granted. We are placing our faith in God and thus feeling that we have begun breaking out of our cultural slavery. We can be secure with who we are. God has been calling out to us big time and we seem ready to listen and answer His call. “Karov Hahsem l’chol kor’av, l’chol asher yikra’uhu be’emet,” Hashem is close to all that call out to Him in with honesty and truthfulness (Tehilim 145.18).

This is the month of healing, as exhibited in it’s name, Iyar, an acronym for “Ani Hashem Rofecha, I am Hashem your healer (Shmot 15.26).” Sefirat haomer,” the counting of the 7 weeks that connect Pesach and Shavout, is clearly our healing and fixing time of year to break out, leave the negative stuff behind and go forward to goodness and pursuit of an honest spiritual purity in our lives. As The Slonimer Rebbe points out, during this period of 49 days of fixing we must fix our hearts, i.e. the relationships we have with others. The numerical value of the words, “lev tov,” (a good heart) is 49. Our heart is the root of all of the good we can do in this world.

So after this little stroll into society this afternoon, I am beginning to think about how I can change and fix my ways so that, together, we can make this world a more wholesome, happy and holy place to live in. Friends, when this plague is finally removed and is behind us, please let’s not go back. No reverting back to slavery to jobs, greed, culture, anger, ego and baseless hatred. Instead of going back let’s look forward and upward. Let’s keep searching for who we really are and what it is that we are meant to be doing here. Let’s take an example of great belief and hope from the seven religious leaders of various faiths in Jerusalem, who yesterday prayed to God together on behalf of us all to end the hatred, end the violence, as they called on all citizens of the world to join forces and carry a joint prayer for health and unity.”

This our vison for the future, “ki beiti beit tefilah yikare l’chol ha’amim,” because my house will be a house of prayer for all nations (Isiah 56.7) Please let’s let it be now!

Please be safe and careful, for all of our sakes.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov,
Yehudah