Weekly Message 03.27.2020 Parashat Vayikra (and He called to Moses) Leviticus 1:1-5:26
We are now completing the second week of our physical synagogue being "off limits" and preparing for the second Shabbat away from our spiritual home.
I have now contacted nearly everyone by phone and either spoken to you or left a message of what I hope is comfort and hope for the future. I am pleased to say that we all appear to be healthy and safe and adjusting to the new normal of "social distancing", In my case, our two younger grandsons (ages 8 and 13) have come to live with us until their schools reopen in South Carolina and we are re-honing our parenting skills as their assignments are arriving on the Internet daily and we help them keep up while providing sustenance (who remembers how much young boys eat!), exercise, and entertainment for them while restricting their movements. This Shabbat, we begin the reading and study of the Book of Leviticus (Vayikra) in the Torah. For many, it is the most boring and non-relevant to modern life book of our Tanakh (holy writings) as it concerns itself in great detail with the entire range of animal and other sacrifices (Korbanot) to be made in the Temple. These served mostly as forgiveness for sin and for thankfulness to G-d. However, if we look beyond the detail, we begin to understand what our present day sacrifices should be. And community plays a large roll in this whether we are able to be physically together or not. So today, sacrifices are still relevant. They just have to be restructured to match our 21st century world and specifically, times of trouble such as we are experiencing today. We are fortunate to have modern technology in order to pray and study together on Friday evenings at 7:30 pm. We are grateful for the large "turnout" last Friday and I hope you will "tune in" again this week. We are also working to have our adult education sessions "streamed" as well in the coming weeks as the virus continues to plague our nation and our world. So what else can we do in lieu of the sacrifices of old? Even in the midst of the orders to stay in our homes nearly all of the time, we can show kindness, compassion, generosity, and goodwill by staying in touch with our congregants, families, and friends. Sometimes, just hearing another human voice is spiritually uplifting for those who are shut in.
Also, I am hearing stories from our congregants and in the media of those in our community who are "volunteering from home" by sewing surgical masks and making certain that the elderly and infirm have food and supplies delivered to them. So between our prayers and our deeds, we can continue to make a difference and help heal the world in our own individual ways. Please tune into our service tonight at 7:30 pm at https://www.facebook.com/pg/jccwestpasco/videos/?ref=page_internal and I'll look forward to seeing you there!
Shabbat Shalom, Ron Ron Becker Spiritual Leader