Shalom, Bet Shalom!
I just finished “Zoom Tefillah” with the current Year In Israel students of Hebrew Union College who abruptly had to scatter all over the world to finish their year because of the pandemic. They began singing the words of Rebbe Nachman of Batslav’s -”Kol Haolam Kulo Gesher Tzar M’Od/Lo Lfached Klal” – The entire world is but a very narrow bridge; the most important thing is not to be afraid.
I sat in my kitchen and sang along and listened to one rabbinic student explain how we reach our most sacred moment in our Jewish narrative each day twice in our prayers. We cross the Red Sea and rejoice in the miracle of being freed from slavery and sing the Song of the Sea: “Mi Chamocha Baeilim Adonai,Mi Chamocha Ne’edar Bakodesh! – Who is like You, O God, among the gods that are worshipped?”
As I was praying with our students, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the astounding blessing of our Jewish rituals. They never let us down in times of great joy, distress or sorrow. I was struck by the beauty of community and how we are commanded to sit down together next week at our Seder tables and “retell the story”. We sing, we laugh, we argue and discuss and eat of course, we eat. I finished the zoom and took out our seder plate and Matzah cover and all of our Pesach recipes and began planning the meal. I checked my pantry to see if I have all of the ingredients and I suddenly became excited for the Passover meal and ceremony. Our Seders will look different this year, but we will all be re-telling and re-connecting and REJOICING.
I also became very aware that when we say at the end of our Seder meal, “Next year in Jerusalem,” that I am saying to myself “NEXT YEAR IN MINNETONKA!” Not to say that I will not miss Jerusalem at this time as all of the flowers and trees are in bloom, but my Jerusalem will be with all of you on the shores of Lake Minnetonka.
At this time I pray for all of our strength, health and eternal HOPE. I look forward to singing, praying and learning with all of you very soon at Bet Shalom. May you all be blessed with the wisdom from our collective Exodus story, that all of us will cross to the other side of the Red Sea and dance towards FREEDOM.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Pesach Sameach!
Cantor Tamar Havilio