Honey, I’m tired. We’re staring down a difficult tunnel with Covid. I’m a little rundown and I’m tired of making risk/benefit analyses of every single thing I do. I lightened up a bit on my Covid protocols last week, and now I’m sick. Was my calculus off? Did I put my kids at extra risk? Was the anxiety of waiting for my Covid test results all of Shabbat worth it? (I’m negative). I guess I’m just feeling a little down. And with my daughter’s bat mitzvah coming around the corner, I’m also filled with dread about how many decisions I’m about to have to make, with no crystal ball. Everyday she reminds me how many days away it is, and at some point I’m going to have to make some calls on how we’re doing this. And time marches on.
This Shabbat we finished reading Genesis and next week we will begin reading Exodus. The Torah- this book that captures our minds and imaginations and hearts- just keeps moving. In Pirkei Avot (the Ethics of the Fathers), a disciple of Rabbi Hillel’s known as Ben Bag-Bag said the following: “Turn it, and turn it, for everything is in it. Reflect on it and grow old and gray with it. Don’t turn from it, for nothing is better than it.” The Torah is endlessly fascinating- it’s the beloved book you read over and over again. It is, as they say, a good book.
When we reach the end of a book of the Torah, it’s traditional for the congregation to say “hazak hazak v’nithazek”, which roughly translates to “strength, strength, and may you be strengthened.” It seems that the origin of this phrase comes from the book of Samuel, with a tribal plea that we should be strong for the sake of our people and our land.
This is my blessing and my hope and my prayer for us. That as we face whatever lies ahead in the next few months, we remain strong and true, steadfast, united and connected. The big tribe- the human tribe- all depends on it.