After a long day of work, sometimes I just want to sit on the couch with a remote. Since the winter nights are long, we thought we’d spend a few weeks diving into our favorite television shows.  Of course, it’s the Soul Center so there’s always a Jewish twist.  Each week, we’ll “tag out” and pass the baton to another wisdom leader.  Let us know if you’re watching too, and what else you’re watching.  After all, Amazon shouldn’t be our only guide to new shows…

My TV watching usually happens on Saturday nights with Maya (my youngest) by my side (do you remember when we used to go out?!?) Right now, we’re watching shows that most of you watched a while back (Ted Lasso and the Morning Show – LOVE!) But we’re also watching Manifest (somehow we missed it when others were watching) and we are loving it.

Manifest captured our imaginations from the moment we hit play.  The show began with a plane flying back to the US from Jamaica.  There was tumult on the plane and a scene that looked like they were crashing, but they made it through and landed.  It felt like a long plane ride that they miraculously survived but it turned out that they had lost 5 years on that flight.  Soon after their return and trying to figure out what happened, the passengers on the flight start hearing voices.  The voices lead them to solve crises and save people and do extraordinary things that they might not otherwise be inclined to do but the voices that they hear and the visions that they have are too strong to resist.  A guiding voice keeps driving the passengers to work toward fixing, healing, and helping others and the world.  And there are haters and doubters every step of the way who keep trying to bring them down. 

It was over the High Holidays when I began to think about Manifest in a Jewish way.  I was on the bimah and Rabbi Schwartz and I were having a conversation about Abraham.  Abraham was in a moment in his life where he was asked to bring his son, his favorite son (Isaac) and to sacrifice him on the mountain.  Abraham had a difficult decision to make: his family or God.  Rabbi Schwartz and I went back and forth about his choice and his decision. As we were talking though – all I could think about was Manifest.  “Abraham had ‘a calling’” kept running through my mind.  Just like Mikayla and Cal and all of the passengers do.  When you hear God’s voice and it’s loud and urgent in your head and it’s guiding you to do something that’s far bigger than yourself – it’s impossible to ignore that voice, or not to heed the call.  

It’s hard for most of us to hear God’s voice or to feel guided by God’s desires.  We have to listen hard, dig deep and oftentimes, it’s not loud or obvious, it’s subtle and quiet.  Manifest leaves me thinking about what God wants from us.  How God guides us and how Abraham (and the characters on the show) say “Hineni – Here I am!” even when they’re busy or not up to the grand task at hand.  I’m not finished with the show and maybe there will be some twists and I’ll find out that the voice that calls them isn’t God’s voice or something else that I don’t see coming, but for now…I’ll keep watching the characters doing their best to follow the callings and keep working to fine-tune my own spiritual radar.  Stay tuned.

Tapping out and passing the remote to …. Rabbi Ben Shalva… What are you watching?!? 

Soulfully Yours,
Rabbi Saroken


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