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A D'Var Torah from Rabbi Josh Hearshen

09/03/2020 05:15:24 PM


Rabbi Hearshen

How do we go about making the best of the situation? We are often told by others to find the silver lining or to make lemonade from lemons. This idea is sage advice but most often it is easier said than done. 5780 has turned out to be a pretty rotten year for the majority of our world. There has been angst and sadness partnered with a real threat to our safety. I am not thankful at all for this plague. There is no good side to it. There is nothing to say “I am so thankful that this happened.” But it is important to find the hidden brachot, blessings, in our horrors. I remember earlier this year that I heard a press conference with Governor Cuomo and he mentioned that COVID-19 had unintentionally gifted him more time with his grown daughter that he never would have had as she is out of the house more than she is ever there. That got me thinking - because of COVID-19 I had the opportunity to spend time with Ayelet who refuses to stop growing up. We have spent a lot of time together that we would never have had without this forced seclusion. I also was gifted the opportunity to be with Galit for so much more time during these first months of her life that again I would never have had the opportunity to have.  In fact, for the four of us, 2020/5780 has not been a disastrous year. In fact, it has been pretty incredible in many ways. We became a family of four when we brought Galit home and we landed the job we so badly wanted. (Thank you to all of you for helping with that part of this) This does not erase the horrors of 5780. It does not make it a great year. It means that we were blessed in all of this darkness to find some light.

It is in that vein that I want to talk about this year’s holidays. Many of us have been grieving the loss of our holidays and services for the better part of the summer. We have had the hard task of coming to terms with the reality on the ground. I have been grieving along with you. I had been looking forward to my first holidays with all of you, and now here we are and they are being taken from us. But the reality is that I do not need to experience them in that fashion. I do not need to experience them as “being taken from us.” There is another side to examine. We have been faced with adversity and we have put together, to the best of our abilities, a way to connect even in this tough situation. It has forced us to get our creative juices going. It has forced us to find ways to make the old new and relevant. It has forced us to work harder to make the most of this experience. I am a firm believer that nothing easy is worth it. I am a firm believer that the harder we work, the more value we find in what we have produced or accomplished. So now is the time to end our grieving for the holidays that are not this year and instead begin to prepare for and celebrate the holidays that are. The Jewish holidays happen every year whether we are prepared or not. Let’s embrace the unknown. Find a way to make the best of the situation and celebrate all that we have together from a distance and thus preserve the opportunity to celebrate together in the near future in person.

​​​​​​Shabbat Shalom.

Sat, January 23 2021 10 Shevat 5781