This week we experience the convergence and interweaving of several days that speak to us. Last Sunday was the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Monday/Tuesday was Yom HaShoah, today is Earth Day, tomorrow is Ramadan and Friday evening ushers in Rosh Chodesh Iyar and Shabbat. This week underscores the importance of remembering our people’s past, our responsibility to care for the earth, our interrelationship with others and the promise of Iyar, when nurturing the soil and the soul bring healing to all.
This prayer below was shared by Interfaith Power and Light in celebration of Earth Day. It is a prayer for every day.
Modim anachnu lach – מוֹדִים אֲנַחְנו לָךְ – grateful, we are, to You – Source of Life: For Earth’s intricate, interconnected, interdependent biosphere. For the marvelous riot of flora and fauna filling every niche. For the diversity of life, among millions of species; and for the diversity of humanity, each of us a unique reflection of Your image. For the gift of Existence, which we must never take for granted!
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, עוֹשֶׂה מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית
Barukh ata HAVAYA, Eloheinu Ruach ha’olam, oseh ma’aseh v’reisheet Blessed are You, Eternal our G!d, Spirit of the universe, maker of the works of Creation.
This week we also continue to be watchful and protective of ourselves, our loved ones and others as we fight Covid19. In the kabbalistic tradition of the counting of the days from Pesach to Sinai, from freedom from bondage to the giving of Torah, this week explores the cosmic energy of Gevurah. Gevurah, we are taught, means setting boundaries, self-discipline and inner strength. Each day of this week of Gevurah is informed or conditioned by another quality. So today, for example it is informed by Yesod, the quality or force for creativity and life affirming activity. After some six weeks of such immense changes in our lives I have noticed, certainly within myself and amongst some others that I know, some fatigue setting in. We have to stay of track to Sinai! Draw on Gevurah and Yesod!
This week’s Parsha, Tazria Metzorah, reminds us, in the first verses, of the need to honor the seeds of creation. It then goes on to talk about how an ancient virus, Tzaraat, was dealt with. The details in the treatment of this virus are complex. Most laypersons skip over these verses. Why is such shamanistic detail in the Torah? The Kohanim, our ancient shamans, perhaps didn’t want to hide their practices from the people. We call this transparency. Certainly, this is something we need much more of today from our leaders.
Our sages also linked the plague of Tzaraat to Lashon Harah, the misuse of words, (lies, slander, gossip). They taught that Lashon HaRah, that the harm done from speech is worse than the cardinal sins. Tragically, we see how Lashon Harah is contributing to the crisis we are in. More about this on Shabbes. Zoom with us if you can. Torah discussion is at approximately 11:30. Bivriut, be well, Reb David