Last night I walked to Kol Tzedek under the sliver of the new moon of the month of Adar. I spent a few precious hours with a creative group of KT members to put the finishing touches on our upcoming Purim Party/Fundraiser. First of all, get your tickets! Because we need to laugh and dance it out right now!
About Purim, the Talmud teaches, "Each person is obligated to get drunk on Purim until they cannot distinguish between ‘cursed is Haman’ and ‘blessed is Mordechai’" (Megillah 7b). For a moment, let's put aside our relationship to alcohol, so that we can focus on our relationship to blessing and curses. And perhaps more precisely, good and evil, right and wrong, left and right, love and hate, us and them, self and other. In a moment when this administration is obsessed with division and fear, Purim comes to teach us that binaries are not constructive. Purim comes to teach us that we are all connected. And frankly, this year, Purim is coming just in time. Just when there might be an urge to isolate out of fear, Purim reminds us that all is one. That we must draw each other close. That we must lift up hope and solidarity, and resist a narrative that demeans or demonizes other human beings. Purim teaches us that the path of compassion and empathy is itself the path of redemption.
Needless to say, this week has been surreal. As I shared with many of you on Monday night, I have been comforted by the image in psalm 42, "Tehom el Tehom korei." Translated by Scholar Avivah Zornberg, "Deep calls unto Deep." There is place beyond language, beyond binaries and judgement, a place of knowing from which we can rise in grounded action and compassionate clarity. I believe it is our work as people of conscience and faith, to connect to our deepest longings and truths, and work to build relationships that will guide us towards strength, courage, resilience and collective justice. Standing Against Hate at Independence Hall yesterday bolstered my commitment to resisting antisemitism and Islamophobia together, and building stronger relationships with our Muslim neighbors. To quote a letter we just received from The Islamic Education School:
"We know that there are beacons of light in trying times and that we are able to lean on one another to weather these storms...Together we can show the meaning of being neighbors, of being empathetic and peacefully living as members of the human race."
Please join me and Rabbi Michelle tomorrow for a morning of sacred song and learning.
10 am Beit Midrash: Come learn more the spiritual powers of Purim and the commandment to blur boundaries for the sake of wholeness. (downstairs)
10:30 am Family Service (upstairs)
And stay tuned for more ways to get involved, so that we can amplify our voice for justice and our vision of solidarity and interconnection.
Shabbat Shalom - May you find the replenishment you seek!
Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari brings Torat Hayyim, a living tradition, to Kol Tzedek Synagogue through thoughts about prayer, justice, and community.